Rapid sequence spinal anaesthesia for category-1 urgency caesarean section: a case series

Anaesthesia. 2010 Jul;65(7):664-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2010.06368.x.


General anaesthesia is the fastest method for anaesthetising a category-1 caesarean section but is associated with increased maternal morbidity and mortality. We describe the 'rapid sequence spinal' to minimise anaesthetic time. This consists of a no-touch spinal technique, consideration of omission of the spinal opioid, limiting spinal attempts, allowing the start of surgery before full establishment of the spinal block, and being prepared for conversion to general anaesthesia if there are delays or problems. We present a case series of 25 rapid sequence spinal anaesthetics for category-1 caesarean section. The mean (SD [range]) decision-delivery interval was 23 (6 [14-41]) min. After excluding cases where there was an identified delay, the median (IQR [range]) time to prepare and perform the spinal was 2 (2-3 [1-7]) min, and time to develop a 'satisfactory' block was 4 (3-5 [2-7]) min. The total time to induce spinal anaesthesia was 8 (7-8 [6-8]) min. There were three pre-operative conversions to general anaesthesia and three women had pain during surgery that did not require treatment. Our data indicate that one might expect to establish anaesthesia in 6-8 min using a rapid sequence spinal. Careful case selection is crucial. While rapid anaesthesia is important, the reduction of the decision-delivery interval also requires attention to other stages in the pre-operative process.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Spinal / methods*
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors