Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Obstetrical Anesthesia

Dr. Sandra Katsiris
Program Director

The Obstetrical Anesthesia Program at Western University is housed in the Grace Donnelly Women's and Children's Health Pavilion, at London Health Sciences Centre, Victoria Hospital. The Obstetrical Anesthesia Subspecialty group cooperatively focuses their efforts on patient care, teaching, and research in the level 3 (tertiary) Obstetrical Care Unit (OBCU). 

The Obstetrical Care Unit comprises a 21 bed Antenatal unit, 16 private Labour Birthing Recovery Rooms, 4 Operative Birthing Rooms as well as a 5-bay Post Anesthetic Care Unit. The OBCU accommodates both low-risk and high-risk pregnant women. The volume of deliveries for the city was over 6000 this past year. Approximately 60% of the deliveries were high-risk. 

The epidural rate was similar to last year at approximately 75%, and our use of intravenous patient controlled analgesia for labour was approximately 6%. The cesarean section rate was comparable to previous years at 21%. Approximately 90% of cesarean sections continue to be completed under neuraxial anesthesia.

The core resident rotations through the Obestetrical Unit were fully subscribed again this year, with two residents most often assigned during each rotation block. In addition to core Western University trainees, there were also residents from other Canadian institutions, as well as international trainees that chose to come to London for elective experience in obstetrical anesthesia. Dr. Indu Singh has been coordinating these rotations. 

Dr. Andreas Antoniou has coordinated multi-disciplinary simulation sessions for the obstetrical care team. These sessions involve Anesthesiology, Neonatology, Nursing, Obstetrics, and Respiratory Therapy. The development of a simulation room onsite has allowed these sessions to reach a multitude of participants each time they are run. 

As in past years, obstetrical anesthesia was a common theme in tranee presentations at regional, national, and international meetings. Dr. F Qasem presented 'Onset of Labor Epidural Analgesia With Varying Doses of Fentanyl' and Dr. I. Sebbag presented 'Epidural Pressure Waveform to Confirm Correct Positioning of the Epidural Needle in Laboring Pregnant Patients' at both the Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, and at the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society Annual Meeting in Ottawa in 2015. There are a number of other ongoing research projects currently underway in the OBCU. There were also a number of obstetrical anesthesia publications in 2015.

The Obstetrical Anesthesia Fellowship Program had Drs. Qasem and Sebbag as clinical fellows this past year. Dr. Fatemah Qasem will be continuing her fellowship during 2015-2016, and Dr. Mouveen Sharma will be the new clinical fellow for 2015-2016.