The effects of epidural anesthesia on the Doppler velocimetry of umbilical and uterine arteries in normal and hypertensive patients during active term labor

Edgard Ramos-Santos, Lawrence D Devoe, Marsha L. Wakefield, Donald M. Sherline, William P. Metheny

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55 Scopus citations


To study the effects of epidural anesthesia on uterine and umbilical artery blood flow in preeclampsia, we observed 25 patients in active labor at 36 or more weeks’ gestation. Seven had preeclampsia, eight had chronic hypertension, and ten had no complications. Doppler velocimetry of the uterine and umbilical arteries was performed before and after intravenous fluid loading and at 30 and 60 minutes after epidural blockade. Maternal vital signs and fetal heart rate were monitored continuously. After epidural block, mean maternal blood pressure fell significantly in all groups, but no maternal hypotension was observed. Mean maternal and fetal heart rates were unchanged. After epidural block, mean uterine artery systolic-diastolic (S-D) ratios did not change in the chronic-hypertension and normal groups, but fell significantly in the preeclamptic group to values similar to those of the normal group. Umbilical artery S-D ratios did not change in any group. In preeclamptic pregnancy, epidural anesthesia may help to reduce uterine artery vasospasm and may benefit intrapartum fetal well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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