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Korean J Anesthesiol. 2010 Jul;59(1):34-38. English. Original Article.
Lee NJ , Sim J , Lee MS , Ahn W , Han SS , Lee HM .
Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

BACKGROUND: There is a legal obligation to explain the procedure and use of epidural analgesia in labor primarily due to the possibility of potential risks and associated complications. The present study details on the survey carried out to ascertain the current status of obtaining informed consent (IC) for explaining the epidural analgesia in labor. METHODS: The present study is based on a survey through a telephone questionnaire that covered all the hospitals in Korea where the anesthesiologists' belonged to and are registered with Korean Society of Anesthesiologists. The questionnaire included questions pertaining to administration of epidural analgesia to a parturient, information on different steps of obtaining an IC, whether patient status was evaluated, when the consent was obtained, and the reasons behind, if the consent had not being given. RESULTS: A total of 1,434 respondents took part in the survey, with a response rate of 97% (1,434/1,467). One hundred seventy-four hospitals had conducted epidural analgesia on the parturient. The overall rate of obtaining IC for epidural analgesia during labor was 85%, of which only 13% was conducted by anesthesiologists. The rate of evaluating preoperative patient status was 74%, of which 45% was conducted by anesthesiologists. Almost all of the consent was obtained prior to the procedure. CONCLUSIONS: The rate of obtaining IC for epidural analgesia in labor is relatively high (85%) in Korea. However, it is necessary to discuss the content of the consent and the procedure followed for obtaining IC during the rapid progress of labor.

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