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A Retrospective Assessment of the Incidence of Respiratory Depression After Neuraxial Morphine Administration for Postcesarean Delivery Analgesia

Crowgey, Theresa R. BS; Dominguez, Jennifer E. MD, MHS; Peterson-Layne, Cathleen MD, PhD; Allen, Terrence K. MBBS, FRCA; Muir, Holly A. MD, FRCPC; Habib, Ashraf S. MB BCh, MSc, MHSc, FRCA

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182a9b042
Obstetric Anesthesiology: Brief Report

Respiratory depression can occur after neuraxial morphine administration. In the obstetric population, there are little data on respiratory depression after neuraxial morphine administration in women undergoing cesarean delivery. In this single-center, retrospective study in 5036 obstetric patients (mean body mass index = 34 kg/m2) who underwent cesarean delivery and received neuraxial morphine, we did not identify any instances of respiratory depression requiring naloxone administration or rapid response team involvement. Therefore, the upper 95% confidence limit for respiratory depression in our study is 0.07% (1 event per 1429 cases).

From the Anesthesiology-Womens Division, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Accepted for publication July 22, 2013.

Funding: None.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to Ashraf S. Habib, MB BCh, MSc, MHSc, FRCA, Anesthesiology-Womens Division, Duke University Medical Center, DUMC, Box 3094, Durham, NC 27710. Address e-mail to

© 2013 International Anesthesia Research Society