Community Hospital Experience of Surgical Times and Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Cesarean Deliveries for Non-Reassuring Fetal Tracing: A Retrospective Cohort
Background: Current guidelines recommend regional anesthesia versus general as a method of choice for women undergoing cesarean deliveries (CS). However, little is known about the surgical times in the operating room and a choice of anesthesia for cesarean deliveries. Objective: This study was designed to compare times from the arrival to the OR to the delivery of the fetus between regional and general anesthesia along with maternal and fetal outcomes, for patients undergoing cesarean sections for non-reassuring fetal tracing. Study Design: Records were reviewed for patients who underwent cesarean delivery for non-reassuring fetal heart rate tracing from February 2012 to May 2018. A total of 190 charts were selected. Seven patients who received epidural or spinal anesthesia and then converted to general anesthesia (GA) were excluded. The primary outcomes were: 1) entering the operating room to skin incision (min); 2) the time from entering the operating room to delivery of the fetus (min). These times were compared among the patients who underwent epidural, spinal and general anesthesia. The secondary criteria included time from skin incision to delivery of the fetus (min), estimated blood loss (ml), Apgars scores, Arterial/venous cord pH, NICU admissions and fetal complications. ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis Test was used for the continuous variable and Fisher’s exact test was used for the categorical variable to test the differences between groups. Logistic regression model was used for the binary outcomes after adjusting for age, BMI and number of prior laparotomies. Results: Infants in the GA group were delivered significantly faster when compared to epidural and spinal group separately with a P-value of 0.001. The mean time from arrival to OR to delivery of the newborn in GA group was 12.7 minutes, compared to 27 minutes in epidural group and 32.7 minutes in the spinal group. Time intervals from time in the OR to incision and time from incision to delivery of the fetus were also calculated and were significantly shorter in the GA group when compared to spinal and epidural groups, P < 0.001. The estimated blood loss (EBL) was similar between these three groups. Both arterial and venous umbilical cord mean PH were comparable in GA, spinal and epidural groups. Potential complications of GA include 36% of newborns had an Apgar score of less than 7 at 1 minute in GA group when compared to 15% of newborns in the epidural group, and 22% of newborns in the spinal group, which was not statistically significant. When comparing the NICU admission between the groups: 77% of newborns delivered under GA required NICU admission, 54% of the newborns delivered via epidural anesthesia were admitted versus 50% of newborns delivered via spinal anesthesia. Conclusion: The induction of general anesthesia for emergency cesarean section resulted in shorter times to delivery compared to spinal and epidural. General anesthesia was associated with lower, albeit not statistically significant Apgar scores and higher NICU admissions, and had similar cord gases compared to neuraxial anesthesia group.