The new research drew upon data from several earlier studies that compared version success rates with and without anesthesia. The scientists also used national data on the cost of the version procedure with and without anesthesia, and the costs of vaginal and cesarean deliveries. All of the data was entered into a mathematical model that allowed the scientists to predict whether anesthesia use during a version was cost-effective.
The study found that using anesthesia increased average success rates of version procedures from 38 percent to 60 percent. Because it led to fewer cesareans, use of anesthesia also decreased the total cost of delivery by an average of $276; the range of cost differences estimated by the model extended from a $720 savings to a $112 additional cost.
Looking at the question of cost-effectiveness in a different way, the success rates of versions had to be improved at least 11 percent with anesthesia for the cost of the anesthesia to be negated, the researchers calculated.
Prior research has also shown that women are happier with version procedures when they receive anesthesia, Carvalho noted. "The pain of this procedure is variable, but it certainly is uncomfortable," he said. "If you have anesthesia, you feel pressure more than pain. Several studies have shown lower pain scores and higher patient satisfaction with anesthesia."
Abdominal muscle relaxation likely contributes to the higher success rates of the procedures performed with anesthesia, Carvalho said, adding that muscle relaxation caused by anesthesia may allow practitioners to apply less pressure to turn the baby. A previous study by these investigators demonstrated that anesthesia does not increase the risk of per
|Contact: Erin Digitale|
Stanford University Medical Center