Intraoperative awareness and general anaesthesia for caesarean delivery: A fresh look at an ongoing problem

Paul Cosentino, Ian Maddox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter


The evolution of general anaesthesia for caesarean delivery has created a certain mystique among anaesthetists, obstetricians, midwives and mothers. Our past and current colleagues have strived by means of research, reviews, confidential enquiries and guidelines to facilitate performing this surgery in the safest way for the mother and baby. To define safety is not as easy as it may seem. While one endeavours to employ good evidence in every medical decision, personal opinion is necessarily employed to weigh the importance of certain outcomes against competing ones. Frequently, little evidence is available, and experience and extrapolation from other settings are vital. Sometimes by historical accident, or perhaps due to common cognitive biases, some evidence and opinion is given more weight than others and gains a momentum that is difficult to slow.

In this article, concentrating on awareness and pharmacology, we question some of the opinions and guidelines about providing general anaesthesia for a caesarean delivery, and present arguments and evidence for weighing the risks and benefits differently.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralasian Anaesthesia 2015
Subtitle of host publicationInvited papers and selected continuing education lectures
EditorsRichard Riley
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-0-9873236-5-1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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