Use of a novel non-invasive respiratory monitor to study changes in pulmonary ventilation during labor epidural analgesia

Bhavani Shankar Kodali, Lynn Choi, Anton Chau, Brian C. Harvey, Jordan Brayanov, Lawrence C. Tsen, Arvind Palanisamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Measuring continuous changes in maternal ventilation during labor neuraxial analgesia is technically difficult. Consequently, the magnitude of pulmonary minute ventilation (MV) alterations following labor analgesia remains unknown. We hypothesized that a novel, bio-impedance based non-invasive respiratory monitor would provide this information. Furthermore, we sought to determine if an association between changes in MV and maternal temperature existed. Following calibration with a Haloscale Standard Wright Respirometer, the ExSpiron respiratory volume monitor (RVM) measured MV, respiratory rate (RR), and tidal volume (TV) in 41 term parturients receiving epidural analgesia. Simultaneously, maternal oral temperatures were recorded at pre-specified hourly intervals after epidural analgesia initiation until delivery. Cumulative MV changes were calculated as the integral of MV change over time: MV (∫0TΔMVdt), where T represents the time between epidural placement and variable measurement. The association between changes in MV and cumulative MV versus maternal temperature was determined by comparing patients whose temperature did or did not increase by ≥ 0.5 °C. After initiation of epidural analgesia, MV decreased by 11.1 ± 27.6% [mean ± SD] at 30 min, p = 0.006, and 19.8 ± 26.1% at 2 h compared to baseline (12.6 ± 7.3 L/min at baseline vs. 15.3 ± 6.3 L/min at 2 h, p < 0.001), Minute ventilation remained decreased at 4 h by 14.3 ± 31.4% (p = 0.013). The cumulative MV also decreased by 437 ± 852 L [mean ± SD], p = 0.009) at 2 h and by 795 ± 1431 L, p < 0.001) at 4 h following epidural analgesia initiation, compared to baseline. The association between changes in cumulative MV and maternal temperature following epidural placement was weak (R < 0.3); however, a decrease in MV at 30 min (p = 0.002) and cumulative MV at 2 h (p = 0.012) was observed in women whose temperature increased by at least 0.5 °C during labor. Our findings suggest that RVM can be a useful noninvasive technology to investigate pulmonary physiology during labor. The association between maternal MV and temperature change during labor analgesia deserves further investigation. Trial (NCT02339389).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-574
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Epidural related maternal fever
  • Labor neuraxial analgesia
  • Maternal ventilation during labor neuraxial analgesia


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