Anaesthesia for caesarean section in patients with cardiac disease

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This review contains material sourced from Med-Line and Pub-Med, search year 2002-2004. Material selected was pertaining to common cardiac ailments in pregnancy. Congenital cardiac problems i.e. Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), Eisenmengers syndrome, valvular heart disease, i.e. mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation, aortic stensois and aortic regurgitation are discussed. Other cardiac conditions associated with pregnancy are pulmonary hypertension and peri-partum cardiomyopathy. Arrhythmias during pregnancy, vary from isolated premature to supra-ventricular and ventricular tachycardia, management is similar to non-pregnant patients. This review summarizes the current management of a parturient with cardiac disease requiring surgical delivery. Regional anaesthesia techniques are preferred as reflected in the current literature for patient with cardiac disease with minor alterations such as slow establishment of epidural for caesarean section or continuous spinal anaesthesia with very small incremental doses of local anaesthesia, maintaining the patient's SVR with vasopressors and fluid, monitoring of the fluid regimen with CVP and in some cardiac function with Swan Ganz catheter. Patients with Eisenmenger syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, should be advised to avoid pregnancy. In conclusion with vast advancements in obsterics care, improvements in cardiac surgery, many patients with cardiac disease can now be safely delivered surgically by skillful anaesthesiologists who are aware of the common potential intra-operative problems and the ability to respond to undesired events immediately.


Journal of Pakistan Medical Association