Programmed Intermittent Epidural Bolus Versus Continuous Infusion in Labour Analgesia


This study aims to establish if programmed intermittent epidural bolus combined to patient controlled analgesia in labour analgesia will lower the hourly bupivacaine consumption when compared to continuous infusion combined with patient controlled analgesia. The investigators' hypothesis is that the use of programmed intermittent epidural bolus will lower the hourly bupivacaine consumption.

Full Title of Study: “Programmed Intermittent Epidural Bolus Versus Continuous Infusion When Added to Patient-controlled Epidural Analgesia on Bupivacaine Consumption in Labour Analgesia: a Randomized Controlled Trial”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: December 30, 2020


  • Device: Programmed intermittent epidural bolus
    • Programmed intermittent epidural bolus added to patient controlled epidural analgesia
  • Device: Continuous infusion
    • Continuous infusion added to patient controlled epidural analgesia

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Active Comparator: Control group
    • Continuous infusion + patient controlled epidural analgesia
  • Experimental: Study group
    • Programmed intermittent epidural bolus + patient controlled analgesia

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Dose of bupivacaine in milligrams per hour
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Total dose of bupivacaine in milligrams divided by the total duration of the epidural in hours

Secondary Measures

  • Evaluation of pain
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Hourly pain measurement by visual analog scale, 0/10 being no pain and 10/10 being the worst pain imaginable
  • Anesthesiologist manual bolus
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Total boluses by the anesthesiologist
  • PCEA boluses received
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • PCEA boluses received
  • PCEA boluses requested
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • PCEA boluses requested
  • Time lapse before the first PCEA request after the epidural connection
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Time lapse before the first PCEA request after the epidural connection
  • First stage
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Duration of the first stage of labour
  • Second stage
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Duration of the second stage of labour
  • Assisted vaginal delivery
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Number of assisted vaginal delivery (vacuum, forceps)
  • Cesarean section
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Number of unplanned cesarean section
  • Motor blockade
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Number of patients with a Bromage score ≥1
  • Patient satisfaction
    • Time Frame: 1 day
    • Satisfaction of the analgesia provided by the epidural on a visual analog scale of 0-100, 0/100 being no satisfaction at all and 100/100 being entirely satisfied

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Pregnant nulliparous or multiparous woman in labour
  • Age ≥18 years
  • Obtained consent for epidural analgesia
  • ASA classification I-II-III
  • Early labour (cervical dilation ≤6cm)

Exclusion Criteria

  • Pregnancy-related comorbidities (preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational diabetes, large for gestational age fetus)
  • Prematurity (<36 weeks of gestation)
  • Multiple gestation
  • Fentanyl allergy or hypersensitivity
  • Patient unable to understand the PCEA
  • Fetal breech position
  • Maternal cardiac pathology and contraindication to Valsalva manoeuvre
  • Patient with a pain visual analog scale (VAS) not ≤1/10 20 minutes after the anesthesiologist's initial bolus
  • Intrathecal catheter or intravascular catheter
  • Accidental dural puncture
  • Patient refusal
  • Patient with a history of chronic pain (pain lasting more than 3 months) or fibromyalgia

Gender Eligibility: Female

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Geneviève Rivard, Principal investigator – Université de Sherbrooke
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Geneviève Rivard, Dr., Principal Investigator, Université de Sherbrooke
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Isabelle Caron, Dr., +1 819 346-1110,


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