Steven Shafer

Publication Details

  • Pitfalls in Chronobiology: A Suggested Analysis Using Intrathecal Bupivacaine Analgesia as an Example ANESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA Shafer, S. L., Lemmer, B., Boselli, E., Boiste, F., Bouvet, L., Allaouchiche, B., Chassard, D. 2010; 111 (4): 980-985


    The duration of analgesia from epidural administration of local anesthetics to parturients has been shown to follow a rhythmic pattern according to the time of drug administration. We studied whether there was a similar pattern after intrathecal administration of bupivacaine in parturients. In the course of the analysis, we came to believe that some data points coincident with provider shift changes were influenced by nonbiological, health care system factors, thus incorrectly suggesting a periodic signal in duration of labor analgesia. We developed graphical and analytical tools to help assess the influence of individual points on the chronobiological analysis.Women with singleton term pregnancies in vertex presentation, cervical dilation 3 to 5 cm, pain score >50 mm (of 100 mm), and requesting labor analgesia were enrolled in this study. Patients received 2.5 mg of intrathecal bupivacaine in 2 mL using a combined spinal-epidural technique. Analgesia duration was the time from intrathecal injection until the first request for additional analgesia. The duration of analgesia was analyzed by visual inspection of the data, application of smoothing functions (Supersmoother; LOWESS and LOESS [locally weighted scatterplot smoothing functions]), analysis of variance, Cosinor (Chronos-Fit), Excel, and NONMEM (nonlinear mixed effect modeling). Confidence intervals (CIs) were determined by bootstrap analysis (1000 replications with replacement) using PLT Tools.Eighty-two women were included in the study. Examination of the raw data using 3 smoothing functions revealed a bimodal pattern, with a peak at approximately 0630 and a subsequent peak in the afternoon or evening, depending on the smoother. Analysis of variance did not identify any statistically significant difference between the duration of analgesia when intrathecal injection was given from midnight to 0600 compared with the duration of analgesia after intrathecal injection at other times. Chronos-Fit, Excel, and NONMEM produced identical results, with a mean duration of analgesia of 38.4 minutes (95% CI: 35.4-41.6 minutes), an 8-hour periodic waveform with an amplitude of 5.8 minutes (95% CI: 2.1-10.7 minutes), and a phase offset of 6.5 hours (95% CI: 5.4-8.0 hours) relative to midnight. The 8-hour periodic model did not reach statistical significance in 40% of bootstrap analyses, implying that statistical significance of the 8-hour periodic model was dependent on a subset of the data. Two data points before the change of shift at 0700 contributed most strongly to the statistical significance of the periodic waveform. Without these data points, there was no evidence of an 8-hour periodic waveform for intrathecal bupivacaine analgesia.Chronobiology includes the influence of external daily rhythms in the environment (e.g., nursing shifts) as well as human biological rhythms. We were able to distinguish the influence of an external rhythm by combining several novel analyses: (1) graphical presentation superimposing the raw data, external rhythms (e.g., nursing and anesthesia provider shifts), and smoothing functions; (2) graphical display of the contribution of each data point to the statistical significance; and (3) bootstrap analysis to identify whether the statistical significance was highly dependent on a data subset. These approaches suggested that 2 data points were likely artifacts of the change in nursing and anesthesia shifts. When these points were removed, there was no suggestion of biological rhythm in the duration of intrathecal bupivacaine analgesia.

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3181dd22d4

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282310200026

    View details for PubMedID 20442259

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