Evidence-based anesthesia: Fever of unknown origin in parturients and neuraxial anesthesia

Lisa Osborne, Michelle Snyder, Dante Villecco, Aaron Jacob, Shawn Pyle, Nancy Crum-Cianflone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The safety of neuraxial analgesia in febrile patients is controversial. We performed an evidenced-based project in an effort to establish a guideline for our active obstetric clinical practice. Neuraxial anesthesia is generally safe for parturients, and complications are rare; however, serious adverse outcomes can result. Because of the devastating nature of the morbidity, the decision to proceed with a neuraxial anesthetic in the face of infection may be contentious. Fever and sepsis are considered relative contraindications to regional anesthesia; however, epidural anesthesia is a superior method of management of pain during labor. One must also consider that 30% to 40% of patients with chorioamnionitis require cesarean delivery. Because of the increased morbidity and mortality of general anesthesia in this population, it may be reasonable to proceed with regional anesthesia. Based on a review of the literature, it is difficult to estimate the risk of an infrequently occurring event. We recommend evaluation of each individual to determine the risks and benefits of the anesthetic. However, it is prudent to administer antibiotics before the regional anesthetic and adhere to strict aseptic technique. Post-procedure monitoring is essential for early detection and treatment of complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalAANA journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Chorioamnionitis
  • Epidural
  • Infection
  • Neuraxial
  • Regional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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