Obstetric specialty societies recommend neuraxial anesthesia, when possible, for cesarean delivery
Current data regarding the association of obstetric anesthesiologist specialization and use of general anesthesia for cesarean delivery remain lacking
What This Manuscript Tells Us That Is New:
Maternal and provider factors are strongly associated with use of general anesthesia for cesarean delivery
Patients receiving care from obstetric-specialized anesthesiologists are 29% less likely to receive general anesthesia for cesarean delivery
Background: Guidelines for obstetric anesthesia recommend neuraxial anesthesia (i.e., spinal or epidural block) for cesarean delivery in most patients. Little is known about the association of anesthesiologist specialization in obstetric anesthesia with a patient’s likelihood of receiving general anesthesia. The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare utilization of general anesthesia for cesarean delivery among patients treated by generalist versus obstetric-specialized anesthesiologists.
Methods: The authors studied patients undergoing cesarean delivery for live singleton pregnancies from 2013 through 2017 at one academic medical center. Data were extracted from the electronic medical record. The authors estimated the association of anesthesiologist specialization in obstetric anesthesia with the odds of receiving general anesthesia for cesarean delivery.
Results: Of the cesarean deliveries in our sample, 2,649 of 4,052 (65.4%) were performed by obstetric-specialized anesthesiologists, and 1,403 of 4,052 (34.6%) by generalists. Use of general anesthesia differed for patients treated by specialists and generalists (7.3% vs. 12.1%; P < 0.001). After adjustment, the odds of receiving general anesthesia were lower among patients treated by obstetric-specialized anesthesiologists among all patients (adjusted odds ratio, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.55 to 0.92; P = 0.011), and in a subgroup analysis restricted to urgent or emergent cesarean deliveries (adjusted odds ratio, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.99; P = 0.049). There was no association between provider specialization and the odds of receiving general anesthesia in a subgroup analysis restricted to evening or weekend deliveries (adjusted odds ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.56 to 1.03; P = 0.085).
Conclusions: Treatment by an obstetric anesthesiologist was associated with lower odds of receiving general anesthesia for cesarean delivery; however, this finding did not persist in a subgroup analysis restricted to evening and weekend deliveries.