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Patient Preferences for Outcomes Associated With Labor Epidural Analgesia


Purpose Patient preferences for labor epidural analgesia (LEA) have been incompletely evaluated. This study aimed to determine the importance of various LEA outcomes to both antenatal and postpartum patients. Methods This was a cross-sectional study approved by the institutional ethics board. Questionnaires were distributed to two separate and distinct cohorts screened for eligibility: pregnant patients at an antenatal visit and postpartum patients during childbirth admission. A list of common LEA outcomes was compiled using research published in leading anesthesia journals. Participants ranked the outcomes according to perceived importance. They assigned each a number from 1 to 10 (priority ranking; 1 indicated the highest priority outcome and 10 the least). They were also asked to 'spend' $100 towards the outcomes (relative value scale), allocating more money to outcomes more important to them. Results Two hundred twenty questionnaires were completed (105 antenatal, 115 postpartum). 'Achieving desired pain relief' was the most important outcome for both cohorts. It was valued more by the postpartum cohort (Median $50 (25 - 60) vs $30 (18 - 50)). 'Overall satisfaction with the pain management,' 'experiencing a short time to achieve pain relief,' and 'experiencing a short duration of labor' received more money than avoiding various LEA-related side effects. The postpartum cohort ranked 'experiencing a short time to achieve pain relief' as more important than the antenatal cohort (Median 5 (3 - 7) vs 3 (2 - 5)). Conclusions Achieving the desired pain relief was the highest LEA outcome preference for both antenatal and postpartum patients. Avoiding side effects was less important relative to pain-related outcomes.

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