The current status of general anesthesia practice for cesarean delivery in Japan remains unknown. Therefore, using a nationwide claims database, we aimed to investigate general anesthesia use for cesarean delivery over a period of 15 years, and to analyze the general anesthesia practice in Japan. Patients who claimed the Japanese general anesthesia claim code (L008) for cesarean delivery between 1 January 2005, and 31 March 2020, were analyzed. Primary endpoint was the prevalence of general anesthesia use. We used two definitions of general anesthesia: L008 code only (insurance definition) and combination of the L008 code with muscle relaxant use (clinical definition). The general anesthesia claim cohort (L008) included 10,972 cesarean deliveries at 1111 institutions from 2005 to 2020. Muscle relaxants were used in 27.3% of L008 claims cases. The rate of general anesthesia use for cesarean delivery ranged from 3.9% in clinical definition to 14.4% in insurance definition of all cesarean deliveries. We observed a temporal trend of gradual decrease in general anesthesia use, regardless of its definition (p for trend < 0.001). We recommend the clinical definition of general anesthesia as the combination of L008 code and muscle relaxant use in a claims-based approach.
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