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A survey was conducted among 259 New Zealand specialist anaesthetists to assess attitudes and practices with regard to epidural or subarachnoid anaesthesia (ESA). Ninety-four per cent replied and virtually all of the respondents indicated that they performed ESA at some time ESA was used by most anaesthetists for most patients undergoing major hip or knee surgery, abdomino-perineal resection, cystectomy, caesarean section or transurethral resection of the prostate. ESA was used in about half of patients undergoing abdominal aortic aneurysm repair femoro-popliteal bypass or thoracotomy and there was marked variation between anaesthetists in the frequency of using ESA for these procedures. There was broad consensus about the importance of a number of factors that might influence the decision to employ ESA; in particular that systemic sepsis and prolonged bleeding time were important contraindications and that patient preference and chronic lung disease were important indications. However respondents were equally divided as to whether they felt that recent myocardial infarction or congestive heart failure constituted indications or contraindications to ESA.


Journal article


Anaesthesia and Intensive Care

Publication Date





79 - 86