Atelectasis after either vaginal or Caesarean delivery has not been adequately quantified. This study addresses the hypothesis that atelectasis may be worse in women who undergo Caesarean section when compared with vaginal delivery under regional anaesthesia.
Twenty healthy non-smoking women submitted to a chest computed tomography (CT) 2 h after delivery in a University Hospital, who had experienced vaginal delivery (n=10) under combined spinal-epidural analgesia or a Caesarean section (n=10) under spinal anaesthesia, were evaluated. The percentage cross-sectional area of atelectasis in dependent lung regions were measured from the CT images obtained at cross-section of the xiphoid process and the top of the diaphragm.
The percentage cross-sectional area of atelectasis was 3.95% in the vaginal delivery group and 14.1% in the Caesarean group (P<0.001, Mann-Whitney rank sum test).
These results suggested that pulmonary atelectasis is greater after Caesarean section delivery under spinal anaesthesia than after vaginal delivery with combined spinal-epidural analgesia.
2010. Vol. 104, no 6, 746-750 p.