Abstract

Prospective multidisciplinary audit from both hospital and community has identified neurological complications persisting for more than 6 weeks in association with pregnancy and delivery. They occurred at a frequency of 1 in 2530 deliveries in the North West Thames Region. Extradural analgesia was considered contributory to a neurological disorder in one of 13,007 patients. The woman had prolonged paraesthesiae along a nerve root. The types of sensory, motor and sympathetic neurological problems presented ranged from transient problems to more serious disorders resulting in death in one case. Seven of 19 patients had a continuing neurological disability for more than 1 yr. Although obstetrics may be associated with lumbar and sacral neurological disorders, problems occurred with the same frequency in the upper as in the lower half of the body. Significant morbidity is not being recognized in hospitals where women are being delivered and it is within the community that these disorders are recognized. This has implications for training, audit and risk assessment.

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