Epidural risk lower than previously thought

January 12, 2009 1:51:07 PM PST
The health risks expectant mothers and other patients face as a result of epidurals is lower than previously thought. A study in the British journal Anesthesia found the risk is as low as 1 in 23,000. That's 10 times less than tends to be expected.

Experts say it is important patients are told the truth about the risks.

Epidurals are commonly used during labor and for operations such as knee and hip replacements.

Researchers say most complications were judged to be unavoidable, a result of an individual's reaction to the procedure rather than the way it was carried out.