Giving birth to a baby is a singular experience in the life of a woman, yet it is also a time of great anxiety, with pain in childbirth being one of the most widespread fears among pregnant women.The use of epidural analgesia is already commonplace in the delivery rooms of Spanish hospitals, allowing women to have a much more comfortable and less traumatic experience when giving birth. However, not all hospitals use this technique in the same way, nor are all women able to use it for medical reasons.

The applications of this type of analgesia are not limited to obstetric patients. They are also used in other surgical procedures on lower extremities, provided that medical criteria support this use.

What does epidural analgesia involve?

Epidural analgesia involves inserting a thin catheter between two vertebrae in the lumbar region, using a technique similar to that of a lumbar puncture. This enables the direct administration of pain relief drugs, which act by blocking one or more nervous branches and thus stopping these from transmitting pain signals to the brain.

An infusion pump is normally used to ensure that both the dosage of the drug and the infusion flux are correct. This infusion generally takes place under the control of an anaesthetist, either continuously or in the form of boluses. PCEA (Patient Controlled Epidural Anaesthesia) protocol infusion pumps allow the patient to solicit small dosages (also known as patient boluses) in accordance with their perception of pain, within the maximum dosage limits that the anaesthetist has programmed into the pump. This infusion based on patient boluses (PCEA) can also be combined with the continuous infusion of a baseflow.

What is PIEB and what benefits does it offer?

PIEB stands for Programmed Intermittent Epidural Bolus. This involves a type of PCEA epidural analgesia which combines the administration of automatic periodic boluses with the opportunity for the patient to interact with the pump, soliciting patient boluses. Numerous clinical studies have reported that this type of infusion yields important benefits for obstetrics patients:

  • It reduces the quantity of medication used, thereby also reducing recovery time..
  • It reduces the demand of boluses on the part of the patient.
  • It significantly reduces the risk of secondary effects such as the motor blocking of lower limbs, when compared with classic epidural analgesia.
  • It reduces the incidence of instrumental delivery and Caesarean sections.
  • It increases the mother’s level of comfort and her satisfaction with the process.

The clinical study that we link to here compares the PIEB technique with the classic continuous infusion method, offering conclusions which clearly favour the former.

At arcomed, we as a leading manufacturer of infusion pumps are always attentive to the demands of the market. Our Chroma line of latest-generation infusion devices is designed for use in delivery rooms using PIEB protocol as well as more traditional protocols.

These devices also offer a large colour touch screen which is ergonomically designed and easy to use on account of its icon-based interface, as well as enabling the storage of personalised medication libraries and the configuration of different types of alarms.

All of this has been designed to support the work of medical staff, make the childbirth process more comfortable for mothers and generate a positive, quality experience in the hospital. This is in addition to facilitating a reduction in costs due to decreased recovery time, reduced side effects (and therefore reduced admission time) and the use of smaller quantities of medication.

At arcomed, we want your hospital to be prepared for the future, starting from today.