Obstetric Anesthesia

The Division of Obstetric Anesthesia is responsible for the anesthetic services in the Labor and Delivery suite and the pre-anesthetic evaluations for pregnant patients undergoing both obstetric and non-obstetric procedures at the University of Illinois.

Our labor and Delivery suite provides abundant learning opportunities. The busy labor suite includes eight delivery rooms and two operating rooms. There are approximately 3,000 deliveries per year and a diverse patient population, ranging from the uncomplicated laboring women to the critical care of high–risk parturients. In the past year, we have been involved in the care of women with severe pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, thrombocytopenia, ARDS, Swine flu, severe cardiomyopathy and left ventricular dysfunction, abnormal placental implantations including placenta percreta, amniotic fluid embolism, post partum hemorrhage, achondroplasia, vaginal births after cesarean delivery, conjoined twins, triplets, quadruplets, and the super morbidly obese, just to name a few of the more challenging medical conditions. Despite this, our Cesarean Section rate remains below 30% and our labor epidural rate exceeds 60%.

During the four-week rotation, residents spend two weeks on a day float schedule learning the basics of labor analgesia and surgical obstetric anesthesia, most often working one on one with an anesthesiology attending. The last two weeks of the rotation is a night float because as we know the laboring patient never sleeps. Residents become proficient in performing neuraxial techniques including spinals, epidurals, and combined spinal-epidurals, far exceeding ACGME requirements for those procedures.

By being mindful and present in Labor and Delivery, we have built a great relationship with the Obstetrics/Gynecology department, which promotes a collegial relationship between all members of the Labor and Delivery team.  We attend morning board report. Here we can discuss complicated patients, formulate treatment plans, and learn and offer the best care for our patients.  In addition, OB anesthesia-related journal club and focused lectures help residents develop a solid foundation of knowledge. We also participate in the Illinois Department of Public Aid Maternal Hemorrhage project which requires each member of the anesthesiology department to attend lectures, undergo simulation training, and complete competency testing on the management of maternal hemorrhage. Upon completion of their rotation, residents are confident with all forms of neuraxial anesthesia and perioperative care of parturients.

Obstetric Anesthesiology Faculty:

Jacqueline Galvan, MD
Priscilla Hensel, MD
Heather Nixon, MD