Effect of epidural normal saline bolus prior to catheter removal on parturient sensory and motor function recovery: A pilot study

Maria Williams, Tiffany Dodson, Rafal B. Banek, Lisa Osborne, Joseph Pellegrini, Dennis Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


A normal saline bolus administered before discontinuation of the epidural catheter reportedly hastens return of motor function following epidural anesthesia. However, this technique has not been investigated in parturients following vaginal delivery. In this randomized, prospective pilot study, all enrolled parturients received 0.125% bupivacaine and 2 μg/mL of fentanyl by continuous infusion. After delivery, the experimental group received a 30-mL normal saline bolus through the epidural catheter; the control group did not. Sensory and motor function was evaluated at baseline and every 15 minutes for 60 minutes. Groups were compared using Mann-Whitney U. Fifty-three subjects were included (experimental: n = 27; control: n = 26). Median sensory dermatome levels were significantly different at baseline (experimental: T8, control: T10, P = .01), but not at any other time point. The experimental group had less motor blockade than the control group at every time point; however, the difference was statistically significant only at the 45-minute measure (P = .047). Although the experimental group exhibited a tendency to less motor blockade, the baseline difference in sensory dermatome levels made it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the efficacy of a saline bolus in this parturient population. Future research is needed to confirm these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
JournalAANA journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011



  • Epidural analgesia
  • Motor
  • Obstetrics
  • Saline injection
  • Sensory dermatome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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