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///2018 Abstract Details
2018 Abstract Details2019-08-02T15:57:01-05:00

Intrathecal versus Epidural Morphine for Post-Cesarean Delivery Analgesia

Abstract Number: T1A-3
Abstract Type: Original Research

Elena Madan BA, BS1 ; Roman Schumann MD2; Dan Drzymalski MD3


While morphine is commonly administered as part of the neuraxial anesthetic during cesarean delivery (1), whether intrathecal vs. epidural administration offer better pain control is unclear (2,3). The aim of this study was to compare the analgesic efficacy of intrathecal vs. epidural morphine. Our hypothesis was that parturients who receive epidural morphine might have better pain control.


We performed an IRB-approved retrospective review of all parturients who underwent cesarean delivery for any indication in a single academic institution from April 2016 through March 2017. We compared those who received intrathecal 0.2mg morphine vs. epidural 3mg morphine, excluding those who received a different dose. The primary outcome was median duration from administration of neuraxial morphine to first opioid in the postoperative period. Secondary outcomes included median pain scores and the proportion of patients who received opioid in the first 18 hours postoperatively, as well as rates of side effects. Student’s T test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to analyze continuous variables, and Chi-squared test and Fisher’s exact test for categorical variables.


A total of 378 parturients underwent cesarean delivery. Of the 328 who received neuraxial morphine, 178 (54.3%) received intrathecal 0.2mg morphine and 132 (40.2%) received epidural 3mg morphine. Baseline demographic data were similar between the groups. There was no difference in median number of hours [25-75% range] from administration of neuraxial morphine to first opioid post-operatively between the intrathecal vs. epidural groups (19.2 [18.3, 20.6] vs. 18.9 [18.1, 20.5], mean difference 0.2 [95% CI -0.2 to 0.7], p=0.76) (Fig. 1). During the first 18 hours after receiving intrathecal vs. epidural morphine, there was no difference in incidence of postoperative opioid use (16% vs. 21%, OR 0.7, [95% CI 0.4 to 1.3], p=0.29) or median pain numeric rating scores (3.7 [2.8, 4.8] vs. 3.7 [2.7, 4.5], mean difference 0.0 [95% CI -0.3 to 0.5], p=0.58). The proportion of patients requiring medication to counteract side effects in the first 18 hours post-operatively was similar between the two groups (83% vs. 75%, OR 1.6 [95% CI 0.9 to 2.8], p=0.10) .


Intrathecal and epidural administration of morphine offer similar analgesic efficacy and demonstrate a similar side effect profile.


1. Beatty, NC. JCA. (2013).

2. Duale, C. BJA. (2003).

3. Sarvela, J. A&A. (2002).

SOAP 2018