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Review: epidural or spinal anaesthesia reduces post-operative mortality and morbidity
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 QUESTION: What is the effect of epidural or spinal anaesthesia on post-operative mortality and morbidity?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966–96), Current Contents (1995–6), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1980–96), and the Cochrane Library (1998) with terms that include regional anaesthesia, spinal, and epidural. In addition, conference proceedings were hand searched, bibliographies of relevant papers were scanned, and authors were contacted.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised trials of epidural or spinal anaesthesia compared with general anaesthesia and if data were available before January 1, 1997.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on study characteristics, including type of surgery, patient numbers, type of neuraxial blockade used, and outcomes.

Main results

158 studies were identified, and 141 studies (9559 patients, 4871 who …

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