Best practice in the management of epidural analgesia in the hospital setting

Epidural analgesia is highly effective for controlling acute pain after surgery or trauma to the chest, abdomen, pelvis or lower limbs. It has the potential to provide excellent pain relief, minimal side-effects and high patient satisfaction when compared with other methods of analgesia. However, epidural analgesia can cause serious, potentially life-threatening complications; safe and effective management requires a co-ordinated multidisciplinary approach. This document is a revised version of the guideline published in 2004 and is significantly informed by the results of a nationwide audit in 2009 of major complications associated with central neuraxial block in the UK.

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