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Study objective: To examine whether the principle of informed consent was applied to practice of anesthesia for elective cesarean deliveries in our general hospital. Design: Prospective observational cohort study. Setting: Maternity ward of a general hospital. Study subjects: Twenty-five parturients in their postoperative period after their first and elective cesarean deliveries and 25 anesthesiologists. Interventions: Application of a questionnaire and an information pamphlet describing various forms of anesthesia for cesarean delivery.
Measurements/Observations: To assess patients’ background knowledge about anesthesia, to determine the quality of informed-consent applied to the practice of anesthesia for elective cesarean deliveries i.e. explanation of proposed anesthesia procedure to parturients undergoing cesareans including explanation of advantages, disadvantages of proposed anesthesia procedure, alternative to proposed anesthesia procedure, explanation of its relative advantages and disadvantages and influence of adequate disclosure on patients’ choice of anesthesia.
Results: In 19/25 parturients, trainees and in 6/25, consultants administered informed consent of anesthesia. All study patients (25/25) received spinal anesthesia. All those patients were given some information about spinal anesthesia but none of the patients (0/25) was informed about the availability of epidural or general anesthesia for their cesarean deliveries and benefits and risks associated with these techniques.
Conclusion: In this single institution study, patients reported that the risks/benefits of all possible anesthetic options for an elective cesarean delivery were not addressed during the informed consent process.