Challenges and hurdles for patient safety in obstetric anesthesia in Japan
The use of pain relief for labor has gained popularity in Japan. However, its acceptance is still low among laboring women: only 6.1% of Japanese parturients receive labor analgesia, in contrast with the United States, where approximately 70% receive labor analgesia. Unfortunately, several maternal deaths associated with labor analgesia have been reported in recent years in Japan and how to achieve safer obstetric care is a pressing concern. In this review, we focus on current approaches to labor analgesia in the United States as they compare to existing practices in Japan. We discuss challenges for the introduction and implementation of standard anesthesia practice into the Labor and Delivery Room (LDR; i.e., labor and delivery ward), aiming to secure safety for both mothers and fetus in every part of Japan in the near future.
KeywordsObstetric anesthesia Labor analgesia Neuraxial analgesia
The authors thank Dr. William Camann, M.D., Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and former Director of Obstetric Anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for his insightful comments. This article has been presented in part at the 120th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology, and was partially published in Japanese (Bunben to Masui, 2017 Nov; 99:19–25).
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