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1.  Anaesthetic neurotoxicity and neuroplasticity: an expert group report and statement based on the BJA Salzburg Seminar 
BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia  2013;111(2):143-151.
Although previously considered entirely reversible, general anaesthesia is now being viewed as a potentially significant risk to cognitive performance at both extremes of age. A large body of preclinical as well as some retrospective clinical evidence suggest that exposure to general anaesthesia could be detrimental to cognitive development in young subjects, and might also contribute to accelerated cognitive decline in the elderly. A group of experts in anaesthetic neuropharmacology and neurotoxicity convened in Salzburg, Austria for the BJA Salzburg Seminar on Anaesthetic Neurotoxicity and Neuroplasticity. This focused workshop was sponsored by the British Journal of Anaesthesia to review and critically assess currently available evidence from animal and human studies, and to consider the direction of future research. It was concluded that mounting evidence from preclinical studies reveals general anaesthetics to be powerful modulators of neuronal development and function, which could contribute to detrimental behavioural outcomes. However, definitive clinical data remain elusive. Since general anaesthesia often cannot be avoided regardless of patient age, it is important to understand the complex mechanisms and effects involved in anaesthesia-induced neurotoxicity, and to develop strategies for avoiding or limiting potential brain injury through evidence-based approaches.
doi:10.1093/bja/aet177
PMCID: PMC3711392  PMID: 23722106
anaesthesia, general; anaesthetics; cognitive disorder; neurotoxicity syndromes; postoperative complications
2.  General anaesthesia does not contribute to long-term post-operative cognitive dysfunction in adults: A meta-analysis 
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia  2011;55(4):358-363.
Context:
The contribution of anaesthesia itself to post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) or the potential protective effect of one specific type of anaesthesia on the occurrence of POCD is unclear.
Aims:
This is a meta-analysis evaluating the effects of the anaesthetic technique (regional vs. general anaesthesia) on POCD of patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery.
Settings and Design:
Meta-analysis performed in a University affiliated hospital.
Methods:
A search for randomized controlled trials (RCT) comparing regional anaesthesia to general anaesthesia for surgery was done in PUBMED, MEDLINE, EMBASE, EBM Reviews-Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PsychINFO and Current Contents/all editions in 2009.
Statistical Analysis:
Data were analyzed with comprehensive Meta-analysis Version 2.2.044.
Results:
Twenty-six RCTs including 2365 patients: 1169 for regional anaesthesia and 1196 for general anaesthesia were retained. The standardized difference in means for the tests included in the 26 RCTs was -0.08 (95% confidence interval: –0.17–0.01; P value 0.094; I-squared = 0.00%). The assessor was blinded to the anaesthetic technique for 12 of the RCTs including only 798 patients: 393 for regional anaesthesia and 405 for general anaesthesia. The standardized difference in means for these 12 studies is 0.05 (–0.10–0.20; P=0.51; I-squared = 0.00%).
Conclusions:
The present meta-analysis does not support the concerns that a single exposure to general anaesthesia in an adult would significantly contribute to permanent POCD after non-cardiac surgery.
doi:10.4103/0019-5049.84850
PMCID: PMC3190509  PMID: 22013251
Meta-analysis; post-operative cognitive dysfunction; regional anaesthesia
3.  Early childhood general anaesthesia exposure and neurocognitive development 
BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia  2010;105(Suppl 1):i61-i68.
Summary
A great deal of concern has recently arisen regarding the safety of anaesthesia in infants and children. There is mounting and convincing preclinical evidence in rodents and non-human primates that anaesthetics in common clinical use are neurotoxic to the developing brain in vitro and cause long-term neurobehavioural abnormalities in vivo. An estimated 6 million children (including 1.5 million infants) undergo surgery and anaesthesia each year in the USA alone, so the clinical relevance of anaesthetic neurotoxicity is an urgent matter of public health. Clinical studies that have been conducted on the long-term neurodevelopmental effects of anaesthetic agents in infants and children are retrospective analyses of existing data. Two large-scale clinical studies are currently underway to further address this issue. The PANDA study is a large-scale, multisite, ambi-directional sibling-matched cohort study in the USA. The aim of this study is to examine the neurodevelopmental effects of exposure to general anaesthesia during inguinal hernia surgery before 36 months of age. Another large-scale study is the GAS study, which will compare the neurodevelopmental outcome between two anaesthetic techniques, general sevoflurane anaesthesia and regional anaesthesia, in infants undergoing inguinal hernia repair. These study results should contribute significant information related to anaesthetic neurotoxicity in children.
doi:10.1093/bja/aeq302
PMCID: PMC3000523  PMID: 21148656
anaesthesia, paediatric; children; neurocognitive outcome; neurotoxicity; risk
4.  Safety and feasibility of xenon as an adjuvant to sevoflurane anaesthesia in children undergoing interventional or diagnostic cardiac catheterization: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2015;16:74.
Background
Xenon has minimal haemodynamic side effects when compared to volatile or intravenous anaesthetics. Moreover, in in vitro and in animal experiments, xenon has been demonstrated to convey cardio- and neuroprotective effects. Neuroprotection could be advantageous in paediatric anaesthesia as there is growing concern, based on both laboratory studies and retrospective human clinical studies, that anaesthetics may trigger an injury in the developing brain, resulting in long-lasting neurodevelopmental consequences. Furthermore, xenon-mediated neuroprotection could help to prevent emergence delirium/agitation. Altogether, the beneficial haemodynamic profile combined with its putative organ-protective properties could render xenon an attractive option for anaesthesia of children undergoing cardiac catheterization.
Methods/Design
In a phase-II, mono-centre, prospective, single-blind, randomised, controlled study, we will test the hypothesis that the administration of 50% xenon as an adjuvant to general anaesthesia with sevoflurane in children undergoing elective cardiac catheterization is safe and feasible. Secondary aims include the evaluation of haemodynamic parameters during and after the procedure, emergence characteristics, and the analysis of peri-operative neuro-cognitive function.
A total of 40 children ages 4 to 12 years will be recruited and randomised into two study groups, receiving either a combination of sevoflurane and xenon or sevoflurane alone.
Discussion
Children undergoing diagnostic or interventional cardiac catheterization are a vulnerable patient population, one particularly at risk for intra-procedural haemodynamic instability. Xenon provides remarkable haemodynamic stability and potentially has cardio- and neuroprotective properties. Unfortunately, evidence is scarce on the use of xenon in the paediatric population. Our pilot study will therefore deliver important data required for prospective future clinical trials.
Trial registration
EudraCT: 2014-002510-23 (5 September 2014)
doi:10.1186/s13063-015-0587-3
PMCID: PMC4350978  PMID: 25886748
Anaesthetics; Inhalation; Xenon; Sevoflurane; Congenital heart defects; Cardiac catheterization
5.  Anaesthetics-Induced Neurotoxicity in Developing Brain: An Update on Preclinical Evidence 
Brain Sciences  2014;4(1):136-149.
Every year millions of young people are treated with anaesthetic agents for surgery and sedation in a seemingly safe manner. However, growing and convincing preclinical evidence in rodents and nonhuman primates, together with recent epidemiological observations, suggest that exposure to anaesthetics in common clinical use can be neurotoxic to the developing brain and lead to long-term neurological sequelae. These findings have seriously questioned the safe use of general anaesthetics in obstetric and paediatric patients. The mechanisms and human applicability of anaesthetic neurotoxicity and neuroprotection have remained under intense investigation over the past decade. Ongoing pre-clinical investigation may have significant impact on clinical practice in the near future. This review represents recent developments in this rapidly emerging field. The aim is to summarise recently available laboratory data, especially those being published after 2010, in the field of anaesthetics-induced neurotoxicity and its impact on cognitive function. In addition, we will discuss recent findings in mechanisms of early-life anaesthetics-induced neurotoxicity, the role of human stem cell-derived models in detecting such toxicity, and new potential alleviating strategies.
doi:10.3390/brainsci4010136
PMCID: PMC4066242  PMID: 24961704
anaesthetics; neuroapoptosis; neurotoxicity; neonates; developing brain
6.  Anaesthesia and physiological monitoring during in vivo imaging of laboratory rodents: considerations on experimental outcomes and animal welfare 
EJNMMI Research  2012;2:44.
The implementation of imaging technologies has dramatically increased the efficiency of preclinical studies, enabling a powerful, non-invasive and clinically translatable way for monitoring disease progression in real time and testing new therapies. The ability to image live animals is one of the most important advantages of these technologies. However, this also represents an important challenge as, in contrast to human studies, imaging of animals generally requires anaesthesia to restrain the animals and their gross motion. Anaesthetic agents have a profound effect on the physiology of the animal and may thereby confound the image data acquired. It is therefore necessary to select the appropriate anaesthetic regime and to implement suitable systems for monitoring anaesthetised animals during image acquisition. In addition, repeated anaesthesia required for longitudinal studies, the exposure of ionising radiations and the use of contrast agents and/or imaging biomarkers may also have consequences on the physiology of the animal and its response to anaesthesia, which need to be considered while monitoring the animals during imaging studies. We will review the anaesthesia protocols and monitoring systems commonly used during imaging of laboratory rodents. A variety of imaging modalities are used for imaging rodents, including magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, positron emission tomography, single photon emission computed tomography, high frequency ultrasound and optical imaging techniques such as bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging. While all these modalities are implemented for non-invasive in vivo imaging, there are certain differences in terms of animal handling and preparation, how the monitoring systems are implemented and, importantly, how the imaging procedures themselves can affect mammalian physiology. The most important and critical adverse effects of anaesthetic agents are depression of respiration, cardiovascular system disruption and thermoregulation. When anaesthetising rodents, one must carefully consider if these adverse effects occur at the therapeutic dose required for anaesthesia, if they are likely to affect the image acquisitions and, importantly, if they compromise the well-being of the animals. We will review how these challenges can be successfully addressed through an appropriate understanding of anaesthetic protocols and the implementation of adequate physiological monitoring systems.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-2-44
PMCID: PMC3467189  PMID: 22877315
Preclinical imaging; Anaesthesia; Physiological monitoring
7.  A Novel and Effective Balanced Intravenous-Inhalant Anaesthetic Protocol in Swine by Using Unrestricted Drugs 
Experimental Animals  2014;63(4):423-433.
Nowadays, because of increasing employment of swine for experimental studies and medical training, it is hopeful to investigate novel and effective anaesthetic protocols for preserving the animal welfare in medical investigation and concurrently improving the quality of research. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate a novel and effective anaesthetic protocol in swine undergoing major surgery, by translating know-how of combined anaesthesia from human protocols. Seven landrace swine were anaesthetized for three hours by a combined trial anaesthetic protocol (sedation: medetomidine, acepromazine, atropine and tramadol; induction: propofol, medetomidine and acepromazine; anaesthesia: isofluorane, propofol, medetomidine and acepromazine) and both clinical and haemodynamic parameters were compared with those of five swine anaesthetized with a control protocol (sedation: diazepam, ketamine and atropina; induction: diazepam and ketamine; anaesthesia: isofluorane). Both cardiac frequency (CF) and mean blood pressure (MBP) were significantly (P<0.05) more stable in trial protocol (CF: 78.3 ± 4.6-81.1 ± 5, MBP: 63.9 ± 10.7-96.4 ± 13.0) compared to control protocol (CF: 93.7 ± 5.5-102.5 ± 8.5, MBP: 71.0 ± 6.6-108.7 ± 7.2). The body temperature remained stable in trial protocol (°C: 36.9 ± 0.7-37.2 ± 0.3) compared to control anaesthesia (°C: 36.4 ± 0.3-37.3 ± 0.2, P<0.05). Haematosis improved undergoing combined anaesthesia (+2%, P<0.05) whereas did not change in control animals. There were no differences in respiratory rate between trial and control protocols. This study demonstrates that the proposed balanced intravenous-inhalant protocol permits to carry out a very effective, stable and safe anaesthesia in swine undergoing deep anaesthesia.
doi:10.1538/expanim.63.423
PMCID: PMC4244291  PMID: 25030879
balanced anaesthesia; hemodynamic evaluation; laboratory animals; swine
8.  Optimised Anaesthesia to Reduce Post Operative Cognitive Decline (POCD) in Older Patients Undergoing Elective Surgery, a Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e37410.
Background
The study determined the one year incidence of post operative cognitive decline (POCD) and evaluated the effectiveness of an intra-operative anaesthetic intervention in reducing post-operative cognitive impairment in older adults (over 60 years of age) undergoing elective orthopaedic or abdominal surgery.
Methods and Trial Design
The design was a prospective cohort study with a nested randomised, controlled intervention trial, using intra-operative BiSpectral index and cerebral oxygen saturation monitoring to enable optimisation of anaesthesia depth and cerebral oxygen saturation in older adults undergoing surgery.
Results
In the 52 week prospective cohort study (192 surgical patients and 138 controls), mild (χ2 = 17.9 p<0.0001), moderate (χ2 = 7.8 p = 0.005) and severe (χ2 = 5.1 p = 0.02) POCD were all significantly higher after 52 weeks in the surgical patients than among the age matched controls. In the nested RCT, 81 patients were randomized, 73 contributing to the data analysis (34 intervention, 39 control). In the intervention group mild POCD was significantly reduced at 1, 12 and 52 weeks (Fisher’s Exact Test p = 0.018, χ2 = 5.1 p = 0.02 and χ2 = 5.9 p = 0.015), and moderate POCD was reduced at 1 and 52 weeks (χ2 = 4.4 p = 0·037 and χ2 = 5.4 p = 0.02). In addition there was significant improvement in reaction time at all time-points (Vigilance Reaction Time MWU Z =  −2.1 p = 0.03, MWU Z = −2.7 p = 0.004, MWU Z = −3.0 p = 0.005), in MMSE at one and 52 weeks (MWU Z = −2.9 p = 0.003, MWU Z = −3.3 p = 0.001), and in executive function at 12 and 52 weeks (Trail Making MWU Z = −2.4 p = .0.018, MWU Z = −2.4 p = 0.019).
Conclusion
POCD is common and persistent in older adults following surgery. The results of the nested RCT indicate the potential benefits of intra-operative monitoring of anaesthetic depth and cerebral oxygenation as a pragmatic intervention to reduce post-operative cognitive impairment.
Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN39503939
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037410
PMCID: PMC3376123  PMID: 22719840
9.  Effects of different concentration and duration time of isoflurane on acute and long-term neurocognitve function of young adult C57BL/6 mouse 
Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is a decline in cognitive performance after a surgery with anaesthesia. The exact reasons of surgery and/or anaesthesia resulting in POCD are unclear. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of different concentration and duration time of isoflurane anaesthesia on cognitive performance and cellular mechanisms involved in learning and memory function. In present work, young adult male C57BL/6 mice (age: 8 weeks) were anaesthetized by different concentration isoflurane in 100% oxygen for different duration time (Mice in group I1 received 0.7% isoflurane 0.5 h, mice in I2 received 0.7% isoflurane 2 h, mice in I3 received 1.4% isoflurane 2 h, and mice in I4 received 1.4% isoflurane 4 h). Non-anaesthetized mice served as control group (I0). Spatial learning was assessed at 10 days post-anesthesia in Morris water maze (MWM). Hippocampal protein expressions of activated caspase 3, NMDA receptor subunit NR2B, and extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 were evaluated 24 hours and 2 weeks post anesthesia. Protein expression of activated caspase3 was detected acute elevated in I3 (24 h post-anesthesia) and acute and long-term elevated in I4 (24 hours and 2 weeks post-anesthesia). There was no significant difference between I1, I2 and control group. Protein expressions of NR2B showed an acute and long-term increasement in I1 and I2, decreasement in I4, and an acute decline, then returned to normal in I3 compared to control group. The ratio of phosopho-ERK1/2 to total-ERK showed an acute increasement in I1 and I2, then came to normal 2 weeks post anesthesia compared to control group, meanwhile, we detected an acute and long-term decline in I3 and I4. In MWM test, mice in I1 and I2 showed cognitive improvement, mice in I3 showed similar to control group, while mice in I4 demonstrated cognitive impairment, which were approximately corresponding to the changes of protein expression of NR2B and activation of ERK1/2. The present data suggested the following: (1) Isoflurane may cause neurotoxicity by inducing caspase activation and apoptosis with the anesthetic concentration increased and duration prolonged. (2) Low concentration of isoflurane in 2 hours can induce a hippocampus-specific elevation of NR2B subunit composition and ratio of p-ERK1/2 to total ERK1/2, produce hippocampal-dependent cognitive improvement. While high concentration of isoflurane exceeding 4 hours may induce a decline of NR2B and ratio of pERK1/2 to ERK1/2, then result in cognitive impairment.
PMCID: PMC4203195  PMID: 25337224
Isoflurane; postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD); apoptosis; NR2B receptor; extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)
10.  Endovascular Radiofrequency Ablation for Varicose Veins 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of the MAS evidence review was to conduct a systematic review of the available evidence on the safety, effectiveness, durability and cost–effectiveness of endovascular radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for the treatment of primary symptomatic varicose veins.
Background
The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) met on August 26th, 2010 to review the safety, effectiveness, durability, and cost-effectiveness of RFA for the treatment of primary symptomatic varicose veins based on an evidence-based review by the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS).
Clinical Condition
Varicose veins (VV) are tortuous, twisted, or elongated veins. This can be due to existing (inherited) valve dysfunction or decreased vein elasticity (primary venous reflux) or valve damage from prior thrombotic events (secondary venous reflux). The end result is pooling of blood in the veins, increased venous pressure and subsequent vein enlargement. As a result of high venous pressure, branch vessels balloon out leading to varicosities (varicose veins).
Symptoms typically affect the lower extremities and include (but are not limited to): aching, swelling, throbbing, night cramps, restless legs, leg fatigue, itching and burning. Left untreated, venous reflux tends to be progressive, often leading to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). A number of complications are associated with untreated venous reflux: including superficial thrombophlebitis as well as variceal rupture and haemorrhage. CVI often results in chronic skin changes referred to as stasis dermatitis. Stasis dermatitis is comprised of a spectrum of cutaneous abnormalities including edema, hyperpigmentation, eczema, lipodermatosclerosis and stasis ulceration. Ulceration represents the disease end point for severe CVI. CVI is associated with a reduced quality of life particularly in relation to pain, physical function and mobility. In severe cases, VV with ulcers, QOL has been rated to be as bad or worse as other chronic diseases such as back pain and arthritis.
Lower limb VV is a very common disease affecting adults – estimated to be the 7th most common reason for physician referral in the US. There is a very strong familial predisposition to VV. The risk in offspring is 90% if both parents affected, 20% when neither affected and 45% (25% boys, 62% girls) if one parent affected. The prevalence of VV worldwide ranges from 5% to 15% among men and 3% to 29% among women varying by the age, gender and ethnicity of the study population, survey methods and disease definition and measurement. The annual incidence of VV estimated from the Framingham Study was reported to be 2.6% among women and 1.9% among men and did not vary within the age range (40-89 years) studied.
Approximately 1% of the adult population has a stasis ulcer of venous origin at any one time with 4% at risk. The majority of leg ulcer patients are elderly with simple superficial vein reflux. Stasis ulcers are often lengthy medical problems and can last for several years and, despite effective compression therapy and multilayer bandaging are associated with high recurrence rates. Recent trials involving surgical treatment of superficial vein reflux have resulted in healing and significantly reduced recurrence rates.
Endovascular Radiofrequency Ablation for Varicose Veins
RFA is an image-guided minimally invasive treatment alternative to surgical stripping of superficial venous reflux. RFA does not require an operating room or general anaesthesia and has been performed in an outpatient setting by a variety of medical specialties including surgeons and interventional radiologists. Rather than surgically removing the vein, RFA works by destroying or ablating the refluxing vein segment using thermal energy delivered through a radiofrequency catheter.
Prior to performing RFA, color-flow Doppler ultrasonography is used to confirm and map all areas of venous reflux to devise a safe and effective treatment plan. The RFA procedure involves the introduction of a guide wire into the target vein under ultrasound guidance followed by the insertion of an introducer sheath through which the RFA catheter is advanced. Once satisfactory positioning has been confirmed with ultrasound, a tumescent anaesthetic solution is injected into the soft tissue surrounding the target vein along its entire length. This serves to anaesthetize the vein, insulate the heat from damaging adjacent structures, including nerves and skin and compresses the vein increasing optimal contact of the vessel wall with the electrodes or expanded prongs of the RF device. The RF generator is then activated and the catheter is slowly pulled along the length of the vein. At the end of the procedure, hemostasis is then achieved by applying pressure to the vein entry point.
Adequate and proper compression stockings and bandages are applied after the procedure to reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism and to reduce postoperative bruising and tenderness. Patients are encouraged to walk immediately after the procedure. Follow-up protocols vary, with most patients returning 1 to 3 weeks later for an initial follow-up visit. At this point, the initial clinical result is assessed and occlusion of the treated vessels is confirmed with ultrasound. Patients often have a second follow-up visit 1 to 3 months following RFA at which time clinical evaluation and ultrasound are repeated. If required, additional procedures such as phlebectomy or sclerotherapy may be performed during the RFA procedure or at any follow-up visits.
Regulatory Status
The Closure System® radiofrequency generator for endovascular thermal ablation of varicose veins was approved by Health Canada as a class 3 device in March 2005, registered under medical device license 67865. The RFA intravascular catheter was approved by Health Canada in November 2007 for the ClosureFast catheter, registered under medical device license 16574. The Closure System® also has regulatory approvals in Australia, Europe (CE Mark) and the United States (FDA clearance). In Ontario, RFA is not an insured service and is currently being introduced in private clinics.
Methods
Literature Search
The MAS evidence–based review was performed to support public financing decisions. The literature search was performed on March 9th, 2010 using standard bibliographic databases for studies published up until March, 2010.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports and human studies Original reports with defined study methodologyReports including standardized measurements on outcome events such as technical success, safety, effectiveness, durability, quality of life or patient satisfaction Reports involving RFA for varicose veins (great or small saphenous veins)Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analysesCohort and controlled clinical studies involving ≥ 1 month ultrasound imaging follow-up
Exclusion Criteria
Non systematic reviews, letters, comments and editorials Reports not involving outcome events such as safety, effectiveness, durability, or patient satisfaction following an intervention with RFAReports not involving interventions with RFA for varicose veinsPilot studies or studies with small samples (< 50 subjects)
Summary of Findings
The MAS evidence search on the safety and effectiveness of endovascular RFA ablation of VV identified the following evidence: three HTAs, nine systematic reviews, eight randomized controlled trials (five comparing RFA to surgery and three comparing RFA to ELT), five controlled clinical trials and fourteen cohort case series (four were multicenter registry studies).
The majority (12⁄14) of the cohort studies (3,664) evaluating RFA for VV involved treatment with first generation RFA catheters and the great saphenous vein (GSV) was the target vessel in all studies. Major adverse events were uncommonly reported and the overall pooled major adverse event rate extracted from the cohort studies was 2.9% (105⁄3,664). Imaging defined treatment effectiveness of vein closure rates were variable ranging from 68% to 96% at post-operative follow-up. Vein ablation rate at 6-month follow-up was reported in four studies with rates close to 90%. Only one study reported vein closure rates at 2 years but only for a minority of the eligible cases. The two studies reporting on RFA ablation with the more efficient second generation catheters involved better follow-up and reported higher ablation rates close to 100% at 6-month follow-up with no major adverse events. A large prospective registry trial that recruited over 1,000 patients at thirty-four largely European centers reported on treatment success in six overlapping reports on selected patient subgroups at various follow-up points up to 5 year. However, the follow-up for eligible recruited patients at all time points was low resulting in inadequate estimates of longer term treatment efficacy.
The overall level of evidence of randomized trials comparing RFA with surgical ligation and vein stripping (n = 5) was graded as low to moderate. In all trials RFA ablation was performed with first generation catheters in the setting of the operating theatre under general anaesthesia, usually without tumescent anaesthesia. Procedure times were significantly longer after RFA than surgery. Recovery after treatment was significantly quicker after RFA both with return to usual activity and return to work with on average a one week less of work loss. Major adverse events occurring after surgery were higher [(1.8% (n=4) vs. 0.4% (n = 1) than after RFA but not significantly. Treatment effectiveness measured by imaging defined vein absence or vein closure was comparable in the two treatment groups. Significant improvements in vein symptoms and quality of life over baseline were reported for both treatment groups. Improvements in these outcomes were significantly greater in the RFA group than the surgery group in the peri-operative period but not in later follow-up. Follow-up in these trials was inadequate to evaluate longer term recurrence for either treatment. Patient satisfaction was reported to be high for both treatments but was higher for RFA.
The studies comparing endovascular treatment approaches for VV (RFA and ELT) were more limited. Three RCT studies compared RFA (two with the second generation catheter) with ELT but mainly focused on peri-procedural outcomes such as pain, complications and recovery. Vein ablation rates were not evaluated in the trials, except for one small trial involving bilateral VV. Pain responses in patients undergoing ablation were extremely variable and up to 2 weeks, mean pain levels were significantly less with RFA than ELT ablation but differences were not significant at one month. Recovery, evaluated as return to usual activity or return to work, however, was similar in the treatment groups. Vein symptom and QOL improvements were improved in both groups but were significantly better in the RFA group than the ELT group at 2 weeks, but not at one month. Vein ablation rates were evaluated in several controlled clinical studies comparing the treatments between centers or within centers between individuals or over time. Comparisons in these studies were inconsistent with vein ablation rates for RFA reported to be similar to, higher than and lower than those with ELT.
Economic Analysis
RFA and surgical vein stripping, the main comparator reimbursed by the public system, are comparable in clinical benefits. Hence a cost-analysis was conducted to identify the differences in resources and costs between both procedures and a budgetary impact analysis (BIA) was conducted to project costs over a 5- year period in the province of Ontario. The target population of this economic analysis was patients with symptomatic varicose veins and the primary analytic perspective was that of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
The average case cost (based on Ontario hospital costs and medical resources) for surgical vein stripping was estimated to be $1,799. In order to calculate a procedural cost for RFA it was assumed that the hospital cost and physician labour fees, excluding anaesthesia and surgical assistance, were the same as vein stripping surgery. The manufacturer also provided details on the generator with a capital cost of $27,500 and a lifespan of 5 years and the disposables (catheter, sheath, guidewire) with a cost of $673 per case. The average case cost for RFA was therefore estimated to be $1,356. One-way sensitivity analysis was also conducted with hospital cost of RFA varied to 60% that of vein stripping surgery (average cost per case = $627.08) to calculate an impact to the province.
Historical volumes of vein stripping surgeries in Ontario were used to project surgeries in a linear fashion up to five years into the future. Volumes for RFA and ELT were calculated based on share capture from the surgery market based on discussion with clinical expert opinion and existing private data based on discussion with the manufacturer. RFA is expected to compete with ELT and capture some of the market. If ELT is reimbursed by the public sector then numbers will continue to increase from previous private data and share capture from the conventional surgical treatment market. Therefore, RFA cases will also increase since it will be capturing a share of the ELT market. A budget impact to the province was then calculated by multiplying volumes by the cost of the procedure.
RFA is comparable in clinical benefits to vein stripping surgery. It has the extra upfront cost of the generator and cost per case for disposables but does not require an operating theater, anaesthetist or surgical assistant fees. The impact to the province is expected to be 5 M by Year 5 with the introduction of new ELT and RFA image guided endovascular technologies and existing surgery for varicose veins.
Conclusion
The conclusions on the comparative outcomes between endovascular RFA and surgical ligation and saphenous vein stripping and between endovascular RFA and laser ablation for VV treatment are summarized in the table below (ES Table 1).
Outcome comparisons of RFA vs. surgery and RFA vs ELT for varicose veins
ELT refers to endovascular laser ablation; RFA, radiofrequency ablation
The outcomes of the evidence-based review on these treatments for VV based on different perspectives are summarized below:
RFA First versus Second Generation Catheters and Segmental Ablation
Ablation with second generation catheters and segmental ablation offered technical advantages with improved ease and significant decreases in procedure time. RFA ablation with second generation catheters is also no longer restricted to smaller (< 12 mm diameter) saphenous veins. The safety profile with the new device and method of energy delivery is as good as or improved over the first generation device. No major adverse events were reported in two multicenter prospective cohort studies in 6 month follow-up with over 500 patients. Post-operative complications such as bruising and pain were significantly less with RFA ablation with second generation catheters than ELT in two RCT trials.RFA treatment with second generation catheters has ablation rates that are higher than with first generation catheters and are more comparable with the consistently high rates of ELT.
Endovascular RFA versus Surgery
RFA has a quicker recovery attributable to decreased pain and lower minor complications.RFA, in the short term was comparable to surgery in treatment effectiveness as assessed by imaging defined anatomic outcomes such as vein closure, flow or reflux. Other treatment outcomes such as symptomatic relief and HRQOL were significantly improved in both groups and between group differences in the early peri-operative period were likely influenced by pain experiences. Longer term follow-up was inadequate to evaluate recurrence after either treatment.Patient satisfaction was high after both treatments but was higher for RFA than surgery.
Endovascular RFA versus ELT
RFA has significantly less post-operative pain than ELT but differences were not significant when pain was adjusted for analgesic use and pain differences between groups did not persist at 1 month follow-up.Treatment effectiveness, measured as symptom relief and QOL improvement were similar between the endovascular treatments in the short term (within 1 month) Treatment effectiveness measured as imaging defined vein ablation was not measured in any RCT trials (only for bilateral VV disease) and results were inconsistently reported in observational trials.Longer term follow-up was not available to assess recurrence after either treatment.
System Outcomes – RFA Replacing Surgery or Competing with ELT
RFA may offer system advantages in that the treatment can be offered by several medical specialties in outpatient settings and because it does not require an operating theatre or general anaesthesia. The treatment may result in decanting of patients from OR with decreased pre-surgical investigations, demand on anaesthetists’ time, hospital stay and wait time for VV treatment. It may also provide more reliable outpatient scheduling. Procedure costs may be less for endovascular approaches than surgery but the budget impact may be greater with insurance of RFA because of the transfer of cases from the private market to the public payer system.Competition between RFA and ELT endovascular approaches is likely to continue to stimulate innovation and technical changes to advance patient care and result in competitive pricing.
PMCID: PMC3377553  PMID: 23074413
11.  Perioperative central nervous system injury in neonates 
BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia  2012;109(Suppl 1):i60-i67.
Summary
Anaesthetic-induced developmental neurotoxicity (AIDN) has been clearly established in laboratory animal models. The possibility of neurotoxicity during uneventful anaesthetic procedures in human neonates or infants has led to serious questions about the safety of paediatric anaesthesia. However, the applicability of animal data to clinical anaesthesia practice remains uncertain. The spectre of cerebral injury due to cerebral hypoperfusion, metabolic derangements, coexisting disease, and surgery itself further muddles the picture. Given the potential magnitude of the public health importance of this issue, the clinician should be cognisant of the literature and ongoing investigations on AIDN, and raise awareness of the risks of both surgery and anaesthesia.
doi:10.1093/bja/aes424
PMCID: PMC3521998  PMID: 23242752
anaesthesia, paediatric; brain injury; paediatric; surgery
12.  Anaesthesia Management for Awake Craniotomy: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(5):e0156448.
Background
Awake craniotomy (AC) renders an expanded role in functional neurosurgery. Yet, evidence for optimal anaesthesia management remains limited. We aimed to summarise the latest clinical evidence of AC anaesthesia management and explore the relationship of AC failures on the used anaesthesia techniques.
Methods
Two authors performed independently a systematic search of English articles in PubMed and EMBASE database 1/2007-12/2015. Search included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), observational trials, and case reports (n>4 cases), which reported anaesthetic approach for AC and at least one of our pre-specified outcomes: intraoperative seizures, hypoxia, arterial hypertension, nausea and vomiting, neurological dysfunction, conversion into general anaesthesia and failure of AC. Random effects meta-analysis was used to estimate event rates for four outcomes. Relationship with anaesthesia technique was explored using logistic meta-regression, calculating the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals [95%CI].
Results
We have included forty-seven studies. Eighteen reported asleep-awake-asleep technique (SAS), twenty-seven monitored anaesthesia care (MAC), one reported both and one used the awake-awake-awake technique (AAA). Proportions of AC failures, intraoperative seizures, new neurological dysfunction and conversion into general anaesthesia (GA) were 2% [95%CI:1–3], 8% [95%CI:6–11], 17% [95%CI:12–23] and 2% [95%CI:2–3], respectively. Meta-regression of SAS and MAC technique did not reveal any relevant differences between outcomes explained by the technique, except for conversion into GA. Estimated OR comparing SAS to MAC for AC failures was 0.98 [95%CI:0.36–2.69], 1.01 [95%CI:0.52–1.88] for seizures, 1.66 [95%CI:1.35–3.70] for new neurological dysfunction and 2.17 [95%CI:1.22–3.85] for conversion into GA. The latter result has to be interpreted cautiously. It is based on one retrospective high-risk of bias study and significance was abolished in a sensitivity analysis of only prospectively conducted studies.
Conclusion
SAS and MAC techniques were feasible and safe, whereas data for AAA technique are limited. Large RCTs are required to prove superiority of one anaesthetic regime for AC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156448
PMCID: PMC4882028  PMID: 27228013
13.  Prostate cancer cell malignancy via modulation of HIF-1α pathway with isoflurane and propofol alone and in combination 
British Journal of Cancer  2014;111(7):1338-1349.
Background:
Surgery is considered to be the first line treatment for solid tumours. Recently, retrospective studies reported that general anaesthesia was associated with worse long-term cancer-free survival when compared with regional anaesthesia. This has important clinical implications; however, the mechanisms underlying those observations remain unclear. We aim to investigate the effect of anaesthetics isoflurane and propofol on prostate cancer malignancy.
Methods:
Prostate cancer (PC3) cell line was exposed to commonly used anaesthetic isoflurane and propofol. Malignant potential was assessed through evaluation of expression level of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and its downstream effectors, cell proliferation and migration as well as development of chemoresistance.
Results:
We demonstrated that isoflurane, at a clinically relevant concentration induced upregulation of HIF-1α and its downstream effectors in PC3 cell line. Consequently, cancer cell characteristics associated with malignancy were enhanced, with an increase of proliferation and migration, as well as development of chemoresistance. Inhibition of HIF-1α neosynthesis through upper pathway blocking by a PI-3K-Akt inhibitor or HIF-1α siRNA abolished isoflurane-induced effects. In contrast, the intravenous anaesthetic propofol inhibited HIF-1α activation induced by hypoxia or CoCl2. Propofol also prevented isoflurane-induced HIF-1α activation, and partially reduced cancer cell malignant activities.
Conclusions:
Our findings suggest that modulation of HIF-1α activity by anaesthetics may affect cancer recurrence following surgery. If our data were to be extrapolated to the clinical setting, isoflurane but not propofol should be avoided for use in cancer surgery. Further work involving in vivo models and clinical trials is urgently needed to determine the optimal anaesthetic regimen for cancer patients.
doi:10.1038/bjc.2014.426
PMCID: PMC4183852  PMID: 25072260
prostate cancer; isoflurane; propofol; cancer cell malignancy
14.  Chirality and anaesthetic drugs: A review and an update 
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia  2011;55(6):556-562.
Many molecules can exist as right-handed and left-handed forms that are non-superimposable mirror images of each other. They are known as enantiomers or substances of opposite shape. Such compounds are also said to be chiral (Greek chiros meaning ‘hand’). Such chiral molecules are of great relevance to anaesthetic theory and practice. This review summarizes the basic concepts, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic aspects of chirality, and some specific examples of their application in anaesthesia, along with recent advances to elucidate the anaesthetic mechanisms. Chirality is relevant to anaesthesia, simply because more than half of the synthetic agents used in anaesthesia practice are chiral drugs. Almost all these synthetic chiral drugs are administered as racemic mixture, rather than as single pure enantiomers. These mixtures are not drug formulations containing two or more therapeutic substances, but combination of isomeric substances, with the therapeutic activity residing mainly in one of the enantiomer. The other enantiomer can have undesirable properties, have different therapeutic activities or be pharmacologically inert. Specific examples of application of chirality in anaesthetic drugs include inhalational general anaesthetics (e.g. isoflurane), intravenous anaesthetics (e.g. etomidate, thiopentone), neuromuscular blocking agents (e.g. cisatracurium), local anaesthetics (e.g. ropivacaine and levobupivacaine) and other agents (e.g. levosimendan, dexmedetomidine, L-cysteine). In the recent advances, chirality study has not only helped new drug development as mentioned above, but has also contributed in a more profound way to the understanding of the mechanism of anaesthesia and anaesthetic drugs.
doi:10.4103/0019-5049.90608
PMCID: PMC3249860  PMID: 22223897
Anaesthesia; anaesthetic drugs; chirality; enantiomers
15.  Recovery index, attentiveness and state of memory after xenon or isoflurane anaesthesia: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Anesthesiology  2010;10:5.
Background
Performance of patients immediately after anaesthesia is an area of special interest and so a clinical trial was conducted to compare Xenon with Isoflurane anaesthesia. In order to assess the early cognitive recovery the syndrome short test (SST) according to Erzigkeit (Geromed GmbH) was applied.
Methods
ASA I and II patients undergoing long and short surgical interventions were randomised to receive either general anaesthesia with Xenon or Isoflurane. The primary endpoint was the validated SST which covering memory disturbances and attentiveness. The test was used on the day prior to intervention, one and three hours post extubation. The secondary endpoint was the recovery index (RI) measured after the end of the inhalation of Xenon or Isoflurane. In addition the Aldrete score was evaluated up to 180 min. On the first post-operative day the patients rated the quality of the anaesthetic using a scoring system from 1-6.
Results
The demographics of the groups were similar. The sum score of the SST delivered a clear trend one hour post extubation and a statistically significant superiority for Xenon three hours post extubation (p < 0.01). The RI likewise revealed a statistically significant superiority of Xenon 5 minutes post extubation (p < 0.01). The Aldrete score was significantly higher for 45 min. The scoring system results were also better after Xenon anaesthesia (p < 0.001).
Conclusions
The results show that recovery from anaesthesia and the early return of post-operative cognitive functions are significantly better after Xenon anaesthesia compared to Isoflurane. The results of the RI for Xenon are similar with the previously published results.
Trial Registration
The trial was registered with the number ISRCTN01110844 http://www.controlled-trials.com/isrctn/pf/01110844.
doi:10.1186/1471-2253-10-5
PMCID: PMC2877044  PMID: 20459661
16.  Peri-operative anaesthetic myocardial preconditioning and protection – cellular mechanisms and clinical relevance in cardiac anaesthesia 
Anaesthesia  2015;70(4):467-482.
Preconditioning has been shown to reduce myocardial damage caused by ischaemia–reperfusion injury peri-operatively. Volatile anaesthetic agents have the potential to provide myocardial protection by anaesthetic preconditioning and, in addition, they also mediate renal and cerebral protection. A number of proof-of-concept trials have confirmed that the experimental evidence can be translated into clinical practice with regard to postoperative markers of myocardial injury; however, this effect has not been ubiquitous. The clinical trials published to date have also been too small to investigate clinical outcome and mortality. Data from recent meta-analyses in cardiac anaesthesia are also not conclusive regarding intra-operative volatile anaesthesia. These inconclusive clinical results have led to great variability currently in the type of anaesthetic agent used during cardiac surgery. This review summarises experimentally proposed mechanisms of anaesthetic preconditioning, and assesses randomised controlled clinical trials in cardiac anaesthesia that have been aimed at translating experimental results into the clinical setting.
doi:10.1111/anae.12975
PMCID: PMC4402000  PMID: 25764404
17.  Spinal anaesthesia at low and moderately high altitudes: a comparison of anaesthetic parameters and hemodynamic changes 
BMC Anesthesiology  2015;15:123.
Background
Hypoxemia caused high altitude leads to an increase and variability in CSF volume. The purpose of this prospective study was to detect the differences, if any, between moderately highlanders and lowlanders in terms of anaesthetic parameters under neuroaxial anaesthesia.
Methods
Consecutive patients living at moderately high altitude (Erzurum, 1890 m above the sea level) and sea level (Sakarya, 31 m above the sea level) scheduled for elective lower extremity surgery with spinal anaesthesia were enrolled in this study (n = 70, for each group). Same anaesthesia protocol was applied for all patients. Spinal anaesthesia was provided with hyperbaric bupivacaine 0.5 %, 9 mg (1.8 mL) in all patients. Anaesthetic characteristics and hemodynamic parameters of patients were recorded. The findings obtained in two different altitudes were compared using appropriate statistical tests. If data was not normally distributed, comparisons were determined using the Mann–Whitney U-test. Comparisons were determined using the Independent T test when data was normally distributed and Fisher’s exact test was used to compare the percentage values.
Results
Duration of the block procedure (minutes) was significantly shorter at the sea level (14.34 ± 0.88) than at moderate altitude (20.38 ± 1.46) (P < 0.001). Motor block duration (minutes) was higher at the sea level compared to the moderate altitude (310.2 ± 104.2, 200.4 ± 103.2; respectively; P < 0.05). Also, the sensory block time (minutes) was higher at the sea level compared to moderate altitude (200.2 ± 50. minutes vs. 155.2 ± 60.7 min; respectively; P < 0.05). Moderate altitude group had significantly higher MABP values at baseline, during surgery and at postoperative 1st and 2nd hours than in the sea level group (P < 0.05, for all). Moderately high altitude group had lower heart rate values at baseline, during surgery and postoperative 1st and 2nd hours compared with the sea level group (P < 0.05). PDPH was seen more frequently (7.14 vs. 2.85 %; P < 0.05) at moderate altitude.
Conclusions
Hemodynamic variations and more anaesthetic requirements following the spinal anaesthesia may be observed at moderately high altitudes compared to the sea level.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12614000749606.
doi:10.1186/s12871-015-0104-y
PMCID: PMC4566491  PMID: 26357836
18.  Use of brachial plexus blockade and medetomidine-ketamine-isoflurane anaesthesia for repair of radio-ulna fracture in an adult cheetah (acinonyx jubatus) 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:249.
Background
Regional anaesthetic techniques have been used in combination with systemic analgesics during small animal surgery to provide multimodal analgesia. Brachial plexus nerves block using local anaesthetics provides analgesia of the thoracic limb through desensitization of the nerves that provide sensory and motor innervation. This has been shown to reduce intra-operative anesthetic requirements and provide postoperative pain relief. Decreasing the doses of general anaesthetics allows more stable cardiopulmonary function during anaesthesia and the development of less side effects. The present case reports a successful use of brachial plexus blockade to supplement medetomidine-ketamine-isoflurane anaesthesia for repair of radio-ulna fracture in an adult cheetah (acinonyx jubatus).
Case presentation
An adult male Cheetah weighing about 65 kg was presented with a history of leg carrying lameness of the left forelimb sustained following a car accident a week earlier. Clinical examination under general anaesthesia revealed slight dehydration and a swelling with a wound on the caudo-medial aspect of the left radio-ulna region. Crepitation was present on manipulation and radiography confirmed a complete transverse radio-ulna fracture of the left forelimb, which required open reduction and internal fixation. Brachial plexus blockade using lignocaine hydrochloride was used to supplement medetomidine-ketamine-isoflurane anaesthesia for the surgical procedure. Isoflurane anaesthesia was maintained at 0.5 - 2.0% throughout the surgical procedure, which was uneventful. Temperature and cardio-pulmonary parameters remained stable intra-operatively. Limb paralysis extended for 5 hours post-operatively, suggesting prolonged anaesthesia.
Conclusion
To the researchers’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of the use of brachial plexus blockade to supplement general anaesthesia to facilitate forelimb surgery in an adult cheetah. The use of brachial plexus block with a light plane of general anaesthesia proved to be successful. Brachial plexus block had a sparing effect on isoflurane anaesthesia as evidenced by the concentration used for maintenance of anaesthesia and the stability of the cardiopulmonary function. Moreover, absence of autonomic cardiopulmonary reactions to the surgical manipulation may be attributed to the efficacy of brachial plexus block. This anaesthesia protocol is therefore recommended for surgeries of the forelimb in wild cats.
doi:10.1186/s12917-014-0249-9
PMCID: PMC4200215  PMID: 25301165
Wild cats; Forelimb fracture; Anaesthesia protocol
19.  Percutaneous regional compared with local anaesthesia for facial lacerations: a randomised controlled trial 
Objective: Facial lacerations are usually repaired after local infiltration of an anaesthetic agent. Regional nerve blocks of the face offer several theoretical advantages over local infiltration. This study compared the pain of injection and anaesthetic efficacy of percutaneous regional and local anaesthesia for facial lacerations.
Study design: Randomised clinical trial.
Participants: Convenience sample of emergency department patients with facial lacerations requiring suturing in anatomical areas innervated by a regional nerve (supraorbital, infraorbital, or mental).
Interventions: Facial lacerations treated using standard wound care. Lacerations were randomised to local or regional infiltration of lidocaine (lignocaine) 1% with adrenaline (epinephrine) 1:100 000 using a number 27 needle.
Outcomes: Pain of injection on 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS) and need for rescue anaesthetic infiltration before suturing.
Data analysis: Group comparisons were with Student's t test and χ2 test. This study had 80% power to detect a 20 mm difference in pain of injection (two tailed, α = 0.05).
Results: 36 patients were randomised to local (18) and regional (18) anaesthesia. Mean (SD) age was 20 (14); 19% were female. Groups were similar in baseline characteristics. Patients in the regional anaesthesia group experienced more pain during infiltration than patients in the local anaesthesia group (42.4 mm v 24.8 mm, mean difference 17.6 mm (95% CI 0.3 to 35.6 mm) and were more likely to require additional infiltration of a local anaesthetic (28% v 0%, (95% CI 6% to 50%)) than patients in the local anaesthetic group.
Conclusions: Local infiltration of anaesthetics for facial lacerations is less painful and results in more effective anaesthesia than percutaneous regional infiltration.
doi:10.1136/emj.2003.008722
PMCID: PMC1726525  PMID: 15611540
20.  A Systematic Review of the Modifying Effect of Anaesthetic Drugs on Metastasis in Animal Models for Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(5):e0156152.
Background
Distant metastasis or local recurrence after primary tumour resection remain a major clinical problem. The anaesthetic technique used during oncologic surgery is suggested to influence the metastatic process. While awaiting the results of ongoing randomised controlled trials (RCTs), we have analyzed the evidence regarding the influence of anaesthetic drugs on experimental tumour metastasis in animal studies.
Methods
PubMed and Embase were searched until April 21st, 2015. Studies were included in the systematic review when they 1) assessed the effect of an anaesthetic drug used in clinical practice on the number or incidence of metastasis in animal models with experimental cancer, 2) included an appropriate control group, and 3) presented unique data.
Results
20 studies met the inclusion criteria (published between 1958–2010). Data on number of metastases could be retrieved from 17 studies. These studies described 41 independent comparisons, 33 of which could be included in the meta-analysis (MA). The incidence of metastases was studied in 3 unique papers. From these 3 papers, data on 7 independent comparisons could be extracted and included in the MA. Locally administered local anaesthetics appear to decrease the number of metastases (SMD -6.15 [-8.42; -3.88]), whereas general anaesthetics (RD: 0.136 [0.045, 0.226]), and more specifically volatile anaesthetics (SMD 0.54 [0.24; 0.84]), appear to increase the number and risk of metastases in animal models for cancer.
Conclusions
Anaesthetics influence the number and incidence of metastases in experimental cancer models. Although more high quality experimental research is necessary, based on the currently available evidence from animal studies, there is no indication to suggest that locally administered local anaesthetics are harmful during surgery in cancer patients. Volatile anaesthetics, however, might increase metastasis in animal models and clinical trials investigating this possibly harmful effect should receive priority. The results of our systematic review in animal studies are broadly consistent with clinical reports that anaesthetic technique does seem to affect the tumour metastasis process.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156152
PMCID: PMC4882001  PMID: 27227779
21.  Impact of anaesthetics and surgery on neurodevelopment: an update 
BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia  2013;110(Suppl 1):i53-i72.
Summary
Accumulating preclinical and clinical evidence suggests the possibility of neurotoxicity from neonatal exposure to general anaesthetics. Here, we review the weight of the evidence from both human and animal studies and discuss the putative mechanisms of injury and options for protective strategies. Our review identified 55 rodent studies, seven primate studies, and nine clinical studies of interest. While the preclinical data consistently demonstrate robust apoptosis in the nervous system after anaesthetic exposure, only a few studies have performed cognitive follow-up. Nonetheless, the emerging evidence that the primate brain is vulnerable to anaesthetic-induced apoptosis is of concern. The impact of surgery on anaesthetic-induced brain injury has not been adequately addressed yet. The clinical data, comprising largely retrospective cohort database analyses, are inconclusive, in part due to confounding variables inherent in these observational epidemiological approaches. This places even greater emphasis on prospective approaches to this problem, such as the ongoing GAS trial and PANDA study.
doi:10.1093/bja/aet054
PMCID: PMC3667344  PMID: 23542078
brain, anaesthesia, molecular effects; nerve, damage (postoperative); nerve, neurotransmitters; nerve, regeneration
22.  Drug Audit of Intravenous Anaesthetic Agents in Tertiary Care Hospital 
Introduction
Drug cost is essential component of anaesthesia pharmacoeconomics. Recently pharmacoeconomics has emerged to measure, compare and evaluate cost of drug therapy to health system and decide which strategies produce best outcomes for resources allocated. The present study was planned to find utilization of intravenous anaesthetic agents in a tertiary care hospital and to find the pharmacoeconomics related to utilized and un-utilized drug data.
Materials and Methods
Prospective observational study was conducted for 3 months and 200 cases were recorded undergoing surgical procedures under general anaesthesia only. Intravenous drugs were considered excluding inhalational anaesthetics. Data for drug utilized and un-utilized was collected. Cost estimation was done.
Results
Thiopentone sodium was frequently used intravenous inducing anaesthetic agent in 75% of patients. On average 6.5 drugs were prescribed per patient as pre-anaesthetic and intravenous inducing anaesthetic medications. 100% of drugs were prescribed by generic name, 92.30% were from National Essential Drug List. Amongst intravenous anaesthetic agents maximum wastage was associated with propofol of about 36.59% and in pre-anaesthetics, wastage was maximum for atropine 79% followed by glycopyrrolate 45.95%, pentazocine 45.95%. The cost of wasted drugs for study duration was 29.82% (Rs. 10,276.25) of the total cost of drugs was loaded (Rs.34458.84). Of this, the cost of wastage of vecuronium was maximum being 16.82% (Rs.1728) of the total cost wastage, followed by rocuronium 15.38% (Rs.1580.80), glycopyrrolate 15.22% (Rs.1564), and neostigmine 10.95% (Rs.1125.12). The cost of wasted drug per case was maximum for rocuronium being Rs.158.08 and least for ketamine Rs. 1.18.
Conclusion
There is need to formulate indicators for intravenous anaesthetic agents utilization. The most commonly prescribed drug glycopyrrolate is still not in National Essential Drug List. The judicious use of these drugs and appropriate measures can effectively decrease the cost in terms of un-utilized drugs.
doi:10.7860/JCDR/2015/14159.6815
PMCID: PMC4668431  PMID: 26673030
Drug cost; Essential drug list; Pharmacoeconomics; Wastage
23.  Airway reactions and emergence times in general laryngeal mask airway anaesthesia 
BACKGROUND
Desflurane's short emergence time supports fast track anaesthesia. Data on the rate of upper airway complications and emergence time when desflurane is used with laryngeal mask airway (LMA) are controversial and limited.
OBJECTIVES
To compare recovery time variables and the rates of upper airway adverse events in patients with an LMA undergoing general surgery with desflurane, sevoflurane, isoflurane or propofol anaesthesia.
DESIGN
A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs).
DATA SOURCES
A systematic search for eligible RCTs in Embase (Elsevier) and in PubMed (National Library of Medicine) databases up to September 2013.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
RCTs investigating the rates of cough overall, cough at emergence, laryngospasm, time to eye opening, time to removal of the LMA, time to respond to command and time to state date of birth in patients with an LMA, during emergence from desflurane, sevoflurane, isoflurane or propofol anaesthesia.
RESULTS
Thirteen RCTs were included and analysed. We found a strong interstudy variability. There was no difference in the rates of upper airway events between desflurane and sevoflurane or between desflurane and a control group consisting of all the other anaesthetics combined. Comparing desflurane (n = 284) with all other anaesthetic groups (n = 313), the risk ratio [95% confidence interval (95% CI)] was 1.12 (0.63 to 2.02, P = 0.70). Cough at emergence was only measured in patients receiving desflurane (n = 148) and sevoflurane (n = 146): the risk ratio (95% CI) was 1.49 (0.55 to 4.02, P = 0.43). Laryngospasm was rare and there was no significant difference in its incidence when desflurane (n = 262) was compared with all other anaesthetics combined (n = 289; risk ratio 1.03; 95% CI 0.33 to 3.20, P = 0.96). The times of all emergence variables were significantly faster in the desflurane group than in all other groups.
CONCLUSION
When using an LMA, upper airway adverse reactions in association with desflurane anaesthesia were no different from those noted with sevoflurane, isoflurane or propofol anaesthesia. Emergence from general anaesthesia with desflurane is significantly faster than all the other anaesthetics. Due to interstudy variations and the small size of the trials, further large-scale, multicentre studies are required to confirm or refute the results of this meta-analysis.
doi:10.1097/EJA.0000000000000183
PMCID: PMC4276573  PMID: 25545286
24.  Multimodal system designed to reduce errors in recording and administration of drugs in anaesthesia: prospective randomised clinical evaluation 
Objective To clinically evaluate a new patented multimodal system (SAFERSleep) designed to reduce errors in the recording and administration of drugs in anaesthesia.
Design Prospective randomised open label clinical trial.
Setting Five designated operating theatres in a major tertiary referral hospital.
Participants Eighty nine consenting anaesthetists managing 1075 cases in which there were 10 764 drug administrations.
Intervention Use of the new system (which includes customised drug trays and purpose designed drug trolley drawers to promote a well organised anaesthetic workspace and aseptic technique; pre-filled syringes for commonly used anaesthetic drugs; large legible colour coded drug labels; a barcode reader linked to a computer, speakers, and touch screen to provide automatic auditory and visual verification of selected drugs immediately before each administration; automatic compilation of an anaesthetic record; an on-screen and audible warning if an antibiotic has not been administered within 15 minutes of the start of anaesthesia; and certain procedural rules—notably, scanning the label before each drug administration) versus conventional practice in drug administration with a manually compiled anaesthetic record.
Main outcome measures Primary: composite of errors in the recording and administration of intravenous drugs detected by direct observation and by detailed reconciliation of the contents of used drug vials against recorded administrations; and lapses in responding to an intermittent visual stimulus (vigilance latency task). Secondary: outcomes in patients; analyses of anaesthetists’ tasks and assessments of workload; evaluation of the legibility of anaesthetic records; evaluation of compliance with the procedural rules of the new system; and questionnaire based ratings of the respective systems by participants.
Results The overall mean rate of drug errors per 100 administrations was 9.1 (95% confidence interval 6.9 to 11.4) with the new system (one in 11 administrations) and 11.6 (9.3 to 13.9) with conventional methods (one in nine administrations) (P=0.045 for difference). Most were recording errors, and, though fewer drug administration errors occurred with the new system, the comparison with conventional methods did not reach significance. Rates of errors in drug administration were lower when anaesthetists consistently applied two key principles of the new system (scanning the drug barcode before administering each drug and keeping the voice prompt active) than when they did not: mean 6.0 (3.1 to 8.8) errors per 100 administrations v 9.7 (8.4 to 11.1) respectively (P=0.004). Lapses in the vigilance latency task occurred in 12% (58/471) of cases with the new system and 9% (40/473) with conventional methods (P=0.052). The records generated by the new system were more legible, and anaesthetists preferred the new system, particularly in relation to long, complex, and emergency cases. There were no differences between new and conventional systems in respect of outcomes in patients or anaesthetists’ workload.
Conclusions The new system was associated with a reduction in errors in the recording and administration of drugs in anaesthesia, attributable mainly to a reduction in recording errors. Automatic compilation of the anaesthetic record increased legibility but also increased lapses in a vigilance latency task and decreased time spent watching monitors.
Trial registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry No 12608000068369.
doi:10.1136/bmj.d5543
PMCID: PMC3178276  PMID: 21940742
25.  Multimodal system designed to reduce errors in recording and administration of drugs in anaesthesia: prospective randomised clinical evaluation 
The BMJ  2011;343:d5543.
Objective To clinically evaluate a new patented multimodal system (SAFERSleep) designed to reduce errors in the recording and administration of drugs in anaesthesia.
Design Prospective randomised open label clinical trial.
Setting Five designated operating theatres in a major tertiary referral hospital.
Participants Eighty nine consenting anaesthetists managing 1075 cases in which there were 10 764 drug administrations.
Intervention Use of the new system (which includes customised drug trays and purpose designed drug trolley drawers to promote a well organised anaesthetic workspace and aseptic technique; pre-filled syringes for commonly used anaesthetic drugs; large legible colour coded drug labels; a barcode reader linked to a computer, speakers, and touch screen to provide automatic auditory and visual verification of selected drugs immediately before each administration; automatic compilation of an anaesthetic record; an on-screen and audible warning if an antibiotic has not been administered within 15 minutes of the start of anaesthesia; and certain procedural rules—notably, scanning the label before each drug administration) versus conventional practice in drug administration with a manually compiled anaesthetic record.
Main outcome measures Primary: composite of errors in the recording and administration of intravenous drugs detected by direct observation and by detailed reconciliation of the contents of used drug vials against recorded administrations; and lapses in responding to an intermittent visual stimulus (vigilance latency task). Secondary: outcomes in patients; analyses of anaesthetists’ tasks and assessments of workload; evaluation of the legibility of anaesthetic records; evaluation of compliance with the procedural rules of the new system; and questionnaire based ratings of the respective systems by participants.
Results The overall mean rate of drug errors per 100 administrations was 9.1 (95% confidence interval 6.9 to 11.4) with the new system (one in 11 administrations) and 11.6 (9.3 to 13.9) with conventional methods (one in nine administrations) (P=0.045 for difference). Most were recording errors, and, though fewer drug administration errors occurred with the new system, the comparison with conventional methods did not reach significance. Rates of errors in drug administration were lower when anaesthetists consistently applied two key principles of the new system (scanning the drug barcode before administering each drug and keeping the voice prompt active) than when they did not: mean 6.0 (3.1 to 8.8) errors per 100 administrations v 9.7 (8.4 to 11.1) respectively (P=0.004). Lapses in the vigilance latency task occurred in 12% (58/471) of cases with the new system and 9% (40/473) with conventional methods (P=0.052). The records generated by the new system were more legible, and anaesthetists preferred the new system, particularly in relation to long, complex, and emergency cases. There were no differences between new and conventional systems in respect of outcomes in patients or anaesthetists’ workload.
Conclusions The new system was associated with a reduction in errors in the recording and administration of drugs in anaesthesia, attributable mainly to a reduction in recording errors. Automatic compilation of the anaesthetic record increased legibility but also increased lapses in a vigilance latency task and decreased time spent watching monitors.
Trial registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry No 12608000068369.
doi:10.1136/bmj.d5543
PMCID: PMC3178276  PMID: 21940742

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