Quadratus lumborum block modestly reduces post-operative pain after caesarean section when intrathecal morphine is not used.
Intraoperative anaesthesia handovers increase the risk of adverse outcomes by 40%.
Deep neuromuscular block does not improve surgical conditions for laparoscopic renal surgery.
A small QTc prolongation seen with carbetocin is unlikely to be clinically significant.
This large study of 428,204 New York caesarean section records (2006-2013), including 34,356 general anaesthetics (8%), investigated the association between mode of anaesthesia and post-partum depression (PPD). Other studies have shown an association between caesarean section (emergency > elective) and PPD. (Sun 2021, Xu 2017, and others), though this is the first to look specifically at general anaesthesia as a PPD risk factor.
Guglielminotti and Li found that general anaesthesia increased the odds of severe PPD by 54% (aOR 1.54, 1.21-1.95), and suicidal ideation by a massive 91% (aOR 1.91, 1.12-3.25), though not a significant increase in anxiety or PTSD.
The researchers discuss many potential causative factors, particularly known associations between GA CS & poor pain control, and subsequent pain & PPD – while also acknowledging the obvious potential for confounders. Of note patients receiving GA were older, more often non-Caucasian, had more co-morbidities, neonatal complexity, and lower socio-economic levels – also all independently associated with PPD risk.
In order to quantify the potential confounding contribution of emergency vs elective status, the researchers employed the novel E value:
To assess the impact of emergent cesarean delivery on our results, we calculated the E value associated with the aOR for the risk of PPD and suicidality. This relatively new metric takes into consideration 2 associations: (1) that between the confounder (emergent cesarean delivery) and the outcome (PPD); and (2) the association between the confounder (emergent cesarean delivery) and the exposure (general anesthesia).
An E value of 1.7 for the unmeasured confounder emergent cesarean delivery indicates that to explain away the association between general anesthesia and depression, either: (1) emergent cesarean delivery increases the risk of depression by at least 70%; or (2) emergent cesarean delivery is at least 70% more prevalent among general anesthesia than among neuraxial anesthesia. Either association is clinically plausible.
Keep it in perspective...
We already know that general anaesthesia for CS is suboptimal: it compromises both maternal experience and safety, but it should (hopefully) only ever be a chosen mode of anaesthesia when there is a true contraindication to regional anaesthesia – even at the modestly-high 8% GA rate among this New York cohort.
Just another reason to avoid GA CS when possible – but you already knew that, right?
"...general anesthesia is a potentially modifiable risk factor for PPD. This finding provides further supporting evidence favoring neuraxial over general anesthesia in cesarean delivery whenever possible."
General anaesthesia for emergency caesarean section is associated with the shortest time-to-incision but also lower 5-min Apgar scores. Longer time-to-incision is not associated with worse neonatal outcomes.
Unfortunate wording in the conclusion here, implying causation where in fact there is no evidence of such. Delivery mode does not have a significant effect – it is rather significantly associated with PPD.
The mode of delivery has a significant effect on the occurrence of mild postpartum depression.
It's unfortunate that the authors and editors were not more careful with their wording in a very emotionally-charged and controversial area.
Both elective (OR 1.47, 1.16-1.86) and emergency (OR 1.53, 1.22-1.91) caesarean section is associated with mild postpartum depression in this network meta-analysis.
There is an association between emergency caesarean section and post-partum depression (OR 1.47, 1.33-1.62).
General anesthesia for cesarean section delivery is associated with an over 50% increased odds of severe postpartum depression.