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.
Pre-anaesthetic evaluation is a basic component of safe anaesthetic practice and ends with the establishment of an anaesthetic plan of action for individual patients.
The aim of the present study was to assess the difficulties encountered by the anaesthetist during such visits and suggest ways they can be overcome
Subjects and Methods:
The ‘activity book’ of anaesthetic resident doctors in the hospital was reviewed retrospectively for documented problems they encountered during the pre-operative visit. The problems listed were then subjected to analysis using the SPSS 17.
The commonest problem was the unavailability of the patient for review 73.1% followed by very busy schedule (7.4%) and unfit patients (6.9%)
Anaesthetists still do encounter problems during the pre-operative visit. Exposing such problems creates the necessary awareness for improvement of patient care.
Anaesthetist; pre-operative visit; problems
P Garnerin, quality manager and F Clergue, department head and professor
J-F Sicard, anaesthetist and F Bonnet, department head and professor
Background—Reporting systems in anaesthesia have generally focused on critical events (including death) to trigger investigations of latent and active errors. The decrease in the rate of these critical events calls for a broader definition of significant anaesthetic events, such as hypotension and bradycardia, to monitor anaesthetic care. The association between merely undesirable events and critical events has not been established and needs to be investigated by voluntary reporting systems.
Objectives—To establish whether undesirable anaesthetic events are correlated with critical events in anaesthetic voluntary reporting systems.
Methods—As part of a quality improvement project, a systematic reporting system was implemented for monitoring 32 events during elective surgery in our hospital in 1996. The events were classified according to severity (critical/undesirable) and nature (process/outcome) and control charts and logistic regression were used to analyse the data.
Results—During a period of 30 months 22% of the 6439 procedures were associated with anaesthetic events, 15% of which were critical and 31% process related. A strong association was found between critical outcome events and critical process events (OR 11.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) 4.4 to 27.8)), undesirable outcome events (OR 4.8 (95% CI 2.0 to 11.8)), and undesirable process events (OR 4.8 (95% CI 1.3 to 13.4)). For other classes of events, risk factors were related to the course of anaesthesia (duration, occurrence of other events) and included factors determined during the pre-anaesthetic visit (risk of haemorrhage, difficult intubation or allergic reaction).
Conclusion—Undesirable events are associated with more severe events and with pre-anaesthetic risk factors. The way in which information on significant events can be used is discussed, including better use of preoperative information, reduction in the collection of redundant information, and more structured reporting.
(Quality in Health Care 2000;9:203–209)
Key Words: reporting system; correlation analysis; quality assessment; adverse events; anaesthesia
OBJECTIVE: To describe the effect of local adaptation of national
guidelines combined with active feedback and organisational analysis on the
ordering of preoperative investigations for patients at low risk from
anaesthetics. DESIGN: Assessment of preoperative tests ordered over one
month, before and after local adaptation of guidelines and feedback of
results, combined with an organisational analysis. SETTING: Motivated
anaesthetists in 15 surgical wards of Bordeaux University Hospital, Region
Aquitain, France. SUBJECTS: 42 anaesthetists, 60 surgeons, and their teams.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number and type of preoperative tests ordered in
June 1993 and 1994, and the estimated savings. RESULTS: Of 536 patients at
low risk from anaesthetics studied in 1993 before the intervention 80% had
at least one preoperative test. Most (70%) tests were ordered by
anaesthetists. Twice the number of preoperative tests were ordered than
recommended by national guidelines. Organisational analysis indicated lack
of organised consultations and communication within teams. Changes
implemented included scheduling of anaesthetic consultations; regular
formal multidisciplinary meetings for all staff; preoperative ordering
decision charts. Of 516 low risk patients studied in 1994 after the
intervention only 48% had one or more preoperative tests ordered (p <
0.05). Estimated mean (SD) saving for one year if changes were applied to
all patients at low risk from anaesthesia in the hospital 3.04 (1.23) mFF.
CONCLUSIONS: A sharp decrease in tests ordered in low risk patients was
found. The likely cause was the package of changes that included local
adaptation of national guidelines, feedback, and organisational change.
Background: Anaesthetists may experience difficulty with intubation unexpectedly which may be associated with difficulty in ventilating the patient. If not well managed, there may be serious consequences for the patient. A simple structured approach to this problem was developed to assist the anaesthetist in this difficult situation.
Objectives: To examine the role of a specific sub-algorithm for the management of difficult intubation.
Methods: The potential performance of a structured approach developed by review of the literature and analysis of each of the relevant incidents among the first 4000 reported to the Australian Incident Monitoring Study (AIMS) was compared with the actual management as reported by the anaesthetists involved.
Results: There were 147 reports of difficult intubation capable of analysis among the first 4000 incidents reported to AIMS. The difficulty was unexpected in 52% of cases; major physiological changes occurred in 37% of these cases. Saturation fell below 90% in 22% of cases, oesophageal intubation was reported in 19%, and an emergency transtracheal airway was required in 4% of cases. Obesity and limited neck mobility and mouth opening were the most common anatomical contributing factors.
Conclusion: The data confirm previously reported failures to predict difficult intubation with existing preoperative clinical tests and suggest an ongoing need to teach a pre-learned strategy to deal with difficult intubation and any associated problem with ventilation. An easy-to-follow structured approach to these problems is outlined. It is recommended that skilled assistance be obtained (preferably another anaesthetist) when difficulty is expected or the patient's cardiorespiratory reserve is low. Patients should be assessed postoperatively to exclude any sequelae and to inform them of the difficulties encountered. These should be clearly documented and appropriate steps taken to warn future anaesthetists.
To survey clinical practice and opinions of consultant surgeons and anaesthetists caring for children to inform the needs for training, commissioning and management of children's surgery in the UK.
The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) hosted an online survey to gather data on current clinical practice of UK consultant surgeons and anaesthetists caring for children.
The questionnaire was circulated to all hospitals and to Anaesthetic and Surgical Royal Colleges, and relevant specialist societies covering the UK and the Channel Islands and was mainly completed by consultants in District General Hospitals.
555 surgeons and 1561 anaesthetists completed the questionnaire.
32.6% of surgeons and 43.5% of anaesthetists considered that there were deficiencies in their hospital's facilities that potentially compromised delivery of a safe children's surgical service. Almost 10% of all consultants considered that their postgraduate training was insufficient for current paediatric practice and 20% felt that recent Continued Professional Development failed to maintain paediatric expertise. 45.4% of surgeons and 39.2% of anaesthetists considered that the current specialty curriculum should have a larger paediatric component. Consultants in non-specialist paediatric centres were prepared to care for younger children admitted for surgery as emergencies than those admitted electively. Many of the surgeons and anaesthetists had <4 h/week in paediatric practice. Only 55.3% of surgeons and 42.8% of anaesthetists participated in any form of regular multidisciplinary review of children undergoing surgery.
There are significant obstacles to consultant surgeons and anaesthetists providing a competent surgical service for children. Postgraduate curricula must meet the needs of trainees who will be expected to include children in their caseload as consultants. Trusts must ensure appropriate support for consultants to maintain paediatric skills and provide the necessary facilities for a high-quality local surgical service.
Background: All anaesthetists have to handle life threatening crises with little or no warning. However, some cognitive strategies and work practices that are appropriate for speed and efficiency under normal circumstances may become maladaptive in a crisis. It was judged in a previous study that the use of a structured "core" algorithm (based on the mnemonic COVER ABCD–A SWIFT CHECK) would diagnose and correct the problem in 60% of cases and provide a functional diagnosis in virtually all of the remaining 40%. It was recommended that specific sub-algorithms be developed for managing the problems underlying the remaining 40% of crises and assembled in an easy-to-use manual. Sub-algorithms were therefore developed for these problems so that they could be checked for applicability and validity against the first 4000 anaesthesia incidents reported to the Australian Incident Monitoring Study (AIMS).
Methods: The need for 24 specific sub-algorithms was identified. Teams of practising anaesthetists were assembled and sets of incidents relevant to each sub-algorithm were identified from the first 4000 reported to AIMS. Based largely on successful strategies identified in these reports, a set of 24 specific sub-algorithms was developed for trial against the 4000 AIMS reports and assembled into an easy-to-use manual. A process was developed for applying each component of the core algorithm COVER at one of four levels (scan-check-alert/ready-emergency) according to the degree of perceived urgency, and incorporated into the manual. The manual was disseminated at a World Congress and feedback was obtained.
Results: Each of the 24 specific crisis management sub-algorithms was tested against the relevant incidents among the first 4000 reported to AIMS and compared with the actual management by the anaesthetist at the time. It was judged that, if the core algorithm had been correctly applied, the appropriate sub-algorithm would have been resolved better and/or faster in one in eight of all incidents, and would have been unlikely to have caused harm to any patient. The descriptions of the validation of each of the 24 sub-algorithms constitute the remaining 24 papers in this set. Feedback from five meetings each attended by 60–100 anaesthetists was then collated and is included.
Conclusion: The 24 sub-algorithms developed form the basis for developing a rational evidence-based approach to crisis management during anaesthesia. The COVER component has been found to be satisfactory in real life resuscitation situations and the sub-algorithms have been used successfully for several years. It would now be desirable for carefully designed simulator based studies, using naive trainees at the start of their training, to systematically examine the merits and demerits of various aspects of the sub-algorithms. It would seem prudent that these sub-algorithms be regarded, for the moment, as decision aids to support and back up clinicians' natural responses to a crisis when all is not progressing as expected.
Objective: Airway care is the cornerstone of resuscitation. In UK emergency department practice, this care is provided by anaesthetists and emergency physicians. The aim of this study was to determine current practice for rapid sequence intubation (RSI) in a sample of emergency departments in Scotland.
Methods: Two year, multicentre, prospective observational study of endotracheal intubation in the emergency departments of seven Scottish urban teaching hospitals.
Results: 1631 patients underwent an intubation attempt in the emergency department and 735 patients satisfied the criteria for RSI. Emergency physicians intubated 377 patients and anaesthetists intubated 355 patients. There was no difference in median age between the groups but there was a significantly greater proportion of men (73.2% versus 65.3%, p=0.024) and trauma patients (48.5% versus 37.4%, p=0.003) in the anaesthetic group. Anaesthetists had a higher initial success rate (91.8% versus 83.8%, p=0.001) and achieved more good (Cormack-Lehane Grade I and II) views at laryngoscopy (94.0% versus 89.3%, p=0.039). There was a non-significant trend to more complications in the group of patients intubated by emergency physicians (8.7% versus 12.7%, p=0.104). Emergency physicians intubated a higher proportion of patients with physiological compromise (91.8% versus 86.1%, p=0.027) and a higher proportion of patients within 15 minutes of arrival (32.6% versus 11.3%, p<0.0001).
Conclusion: Anaesthetists achieve more good views at laryngoscopy with higher initial success rates during RSI. Emergency physicians perform RSI on a higher proportion of critically ill patients and a higher proportion of patients within 15 minutes of arrival. Complications may be fewer in the anaesthetists' group, but this could be related to differences in patient populations. Training issues for RSI and emergency airway care are discussed. Complication rates for both groups are in keeping with previous studies.
Background: Obstruction of the natural airway, while usually easily recognised and managed, may present simply as desaturation, have an unexpected cause, be very difficult to manage, and have serious consequences for the patient.
Objectives: To examine the role of a previously described core algorithm "COVER ABCD–A SWIFT CHECK", supplemented by a specific sub-algorithm for obstruction of the natural airway, in the management of acute airway obstruction occurring in association with anaesthesia.
Methods: The potential performance for this structured approach for each of the relevant incidents among the first 4000 reported to the Australian Incident Monitoring Study (AIMS) was compared with the actual management as reported by the anaesthetists involved.
Results: There were 62 relevant incidents among the first 4000 reports to the AIMS. It was considered that the correct use of the structured approach would have led to earlier recognition of the problem and/or better management in 11% of cases.
Conclusion: Airway management is a fundamental anaesthetic responsibility and skill. Airway obstruction demands a rapid and organised approach to its diagnosis and management and undue delay usually results in desaturation and a potential threat to life. An uncomplicated pre-learned sequence of airway rescue instructions is an essential part of every anaesthetist's clinical practice requirements.
In Sweden, airway guidelines aimed toward improving patient safety have been recommended by the Swedish Society of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine. Adherence to evidence-based airway guidelines is known to be generally poor in Sweden. The aim of this study was to determine whether airway guidelines are present in Swedish anaesthesia departments.
A nationwide postal questionnaire inquiring about the presence of airway guidelines was sent out to directors of Swedish anaesthesia departments (n = 74). The structured questionnaire was based on a review of the Swedish Society of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care voluntary recommendations of guidelines for airway management. Mean, standard deviation, minimum/maximum, percentage (%) and number of general anaesthesia performed per year as frequency (n), were used to describe, each hospital type (university, county, private). For comparison between hospitals type and available written airway guidelines were cross tabulation used and analysed using Pearson’s Chi-Square tests. A p- value of less than 0 .05 was judged significant.
In total 68 directors who were responsible for the anaesthesia departments returned the questionnaire, which give a response rate of 92% (n 68 of 74). The presence of guidelines showing an airway algorithm was reported by 68% of the departments; 52% reported having a written patient information card in case of a difficult airway and guidelines for difficult airways, respectively; 43% reported the presence of guidelines for preoperative assessment; 31% had guidelines for Rapid Sequence Intubation; 26% reported criteria for performing an awake intubation; and 21% reported guidelines for awake fibre-optic intubation. A prescription for the registered nurse anaesthetist for performing tracheal intubation was reported by 24%. The most frequently pre-printed preoperative elements in the anaesthesia record form were dental status and head and neck mobility.
Despite recommendations from the national anaesthesia society, the presence of airway guidelines in Swedish anaesthesia departments is low. From the perspective of safety for both patients and the anaesthesia staff, airway management guidelines should be considered a higher priority.
Airway guidelines; Airway management; Patient safety
The main purpose of this review article is to bring up what has been known (practiced) about decontamination, disinfection, and sterilisation of anaesthetic equipment. It also discusses how this evidence-based information on infection prevention and control impacts care of patient in routine anaesthesia practice. This review underscores the role played by us, anaesthetists in formulating guidelines, implementing the same, monitoring the outcome and training post-graduate trainees and coworkers in this regard. The article re-emphasises that certain guidelines when followed strictly will go a long way in reducing transmission of hospital acquired infection between patient and anaesthetist or between patients. Anaesthetists do not restrict their work to operating room but are involved in disaster management, interventional radiological procedures and in trauma care. They should ensure that the patients are cared for in clean and safe environment so as to reduce healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) simultaneously taking preventive measures against the various health hazards associated with clinical practice. They should ensure that the coworkers too adopt all the preventive measures while delivering their duties. For this review, we conducted literature searches in Medline (PubMed) and also searched for relevant abstracts and full texts of related articles that we came across. There is much to be learned from the western world where, health care organisations now have legal responsibility to implement changes in accordance with the newer technology to reduce health care associated infection. There is a need to develop evidence-based infection prevention and control programs and set national guidelines for disinfection and sterilisation of anaesthesia equipment which all the institutions should comply with.
Anaesthetic equipment; decontamination; disinfection; sterilisation
Tracheal intubation is the accepted gold standard for emergency department (ED) airway management. It may be performed by both anaesthetists and emergency physicians (EPs), with or without drugs.
To characterise intubation practice in a busy district general hospital ED in Scotland over 40 months between 2003 and 2006.
Crosshouse Hospital, a 450‐bed district general hospital serving a mixed urban and rural population; annual ED census 58 000 patients.
Prospective observational study using data collection sheets prepared by the Scottish Trauma Audit Group. Proformas were completed at the time of intubation and checked by investigators. Rapid‐sequence induction (RSI) was defined as the co‐administration of an induction agent and suxamethonium.
234 intubations over 40 months, with a mean of 6 per month. EPs attempted 108 intubations (46%). Six patients in cardiac arrest on arrival were intubated without drugs. 29 patients were intubated after a gas induction or non‐RSI drug administration. RSI was performed on 199 patients. Patients with trauma constituted 75 (38%) of the RSI group. 29 RSIs (15%) were immediate (required on arrival at the ED) and 154 (77%) were urgent (required within 30 min of arrival at the ED). EPs attempted RSI in 88 (44%) patients and successfully intubated 85 (97%). Anaesthetists attempted RSI in 111 (56%) patients and successfully intubated 108 (97%). Anaesthetists had a higher proportion of good views at first laryngoscopy and there was a trend to a higher rate of successful intubation at the first attempt for anaesthetists. Complication rates were comparable for the two specialties.
Tracheal intubations using RSI in the ED are performed by EPs almost as often as by anaesthetists in this district hospital. Overall success and complication rates are comparable for the two specialties. Laryngoscopy training and the need to achieve intubation at the first (optimum) attempt needs to be emphasised in EP airway training.
Objectives—To determine the current position regarding the use of rapid sequence induction (RSI) by accident and emergency (A&E) medical staff and the attitudes of consultants in A&E and anaesthetics towards this.
Methods—A questionnaire was designed that was distributed to consultant anaesthetists and A&E physicians in hospitals receiving over 50 000 new A&E patients per year.
Results—A total of 140 replies were received (a response rate of 72%). The breakdown of results is shown. There was wide difference of opinion between anaesthetists and A&E consultants as to who performs RSI at present in their A&E departments, however two thirds of anaesthetists thought A&E staff with appropriate training and support should attempt RSI either routinely or in certain circumstances.
Conclusions—A&E staff in several hospitals routinely undertake RSI and the majority of A&E consultants thought that RSI would be undertaken by A&E staff if an anaesthetist were unavailable. There is disagreement regarding the length of anaesthetic training required before A&E medical staff should undertake RSI.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable agent of death in the world. It is manufactured on a large scale in India and has a huge international market also. Death toll from tobacco use is on the rise. Use of tobacco is also increasing esp. in developing countries, in teenagers & in women, despite government, WHO and intervention by other statutory bodies. Prolonged use of tobacco or its products, as smoke or chew, endows significant risk of developing various diseases. With advances in surgical and anaethesia techniques & prolonged life expectancy, anaesthetist will be faced with management of these patients. Tobacco consumption affects every major organ system of the body; esp. lung, heart and blood vessels. Perioperative smoking cessation can significantly reduce the risk of postoperative complications & duration of hospital stay. Anaesthetist can play an important role in motivating these patients to quit smoking preoperatively by providing brief counselling and nicotine replacement therapy in reluctant quitters. More of concern is the effect of passive smoking (second & third hand smoke) on non smokers.
This is a review of tobacco & its products, their health consequences, diseases caused, anaesthetic considerations & their role in helping these patients quit smoking Preventing nicotine addiction and improving smoking cessation strategies should be the priority and despite these being only partially successful, strong measures at all levels should be continued & enforced.
Tobacco; Smoking; Passive smoking; Second hand smoke; Health effects; Diseases; Lung cancer; Carcinogenesis; COPD; Anaesthetic considerations; Preoperative advice; Interventions
Five hundred orthopaedic surgeons and 336 anaesthetists were surveyed to assess current UK attitudes towards transfusion practice following arthroplasty surgery. Seventy-two percent of surgeons and 73% of anaesthetists responded to the survey. In an uncomplicated patient following total hip arthroplasty, 53.2% of surgeons and 63.1% of anaesthetists would transfuse at or below a haemoglobin (Hb) level of 8 g/dL. Surgeons tended to be more aggressive in their attitudes, with a mean transfusion threshold of 8.3 g/dL compared to 7.9 g/dL for anaesthetists (p < 0.01), and with 97% of surgeons transfusing two or more units compared to 78% of anaesthetists (p < 0.01). This threshold Hb increased if the patient was symptomatic (surgeons 9.3 g/dL, anaesthetists 8.8 g/dL, p < 0.05) or was known to have pre-existing ischaemic heart disease (surgeons 9.0 g/dL, anaesthetists 9.2 g/dL, p < 0.05). A wide variability in attitudes and practices is demonstrated, and the development and adoption of consensus guidelines needs to be encouraged if efforts to reduce the use of blood products are to succeed.
Stress being high among practicing anaesthesiologists has effects on the quality of life. Methods to mitigate the stress have to be ensured to achieve job satisfaction.
A survey was conducted through a questionnaire to know the various aspects of job satisfaction and job stress. The results of the data obtained were analyzed.
An anaesthetists work area may vary from a small private hospital to a large tertiary centre.Depending on the number of anaesthetists in a particular hospital, the working hours and on call duties would be distributed. Overworked anaesthetists are prone to burnout due to sleep deprivation. This could lead to fatigue related error. Lesser the number of anaesthetists would mean less support from colleagues in the event of complications. Having a good rapport with surgical colleagues also helps to prevent stress.Anaesthesiologists should have adequate monitors to avoid error in judgement. Chronic stress has serious health hazards. Keeping updated with latest developments in our field helps to improve the quality of care provided. Anaesthetists should also receive the recognition and remuneration due to them.
To improve the quality of care provided to a patient,anaesthesiologists must cope with job stress. An anaesthetist must enjoy the work rather than be burdened by it.
Anaesthesiologists; burnout; job satisfaction; quality of life; stress
BACKGROUND: Since the early 1990s the United Kingdom (UK) Department of Health has explicitly promoted a research and development (R&D) strategy for the National Health Service (NHS). General practitioners (GPs) and other members of the primary care team are in a unique position to undertake research activity that will complement and inform the research undertaken by basic scientists and hospital-based colleagues and lead directly to a better evidence base for decision making by primary care professionals. Opportunities to engage in R&D in primary care are growing and the scope for those wishing to become involved is finally widening. Infrastructure funding for research-active practices and the establishment of a range of support networks have helped to improve the research capacity and blur some of the boundaries between academic departments and clinical practice. This is leading to a supportive environment for primary care research. There is thus a need to develop and validate nationally accepted quality standards and accreditation of performance to ensure that funders, collaborators and primary care professionals can deliver high quality primary care research. Several strategies have been described in national policy documents in order to achieve an improvement in teaching and clinical care, as well as enhancing research capacity in primary care. The development of both research practices and primary care research networks has been recognised as having an important contribution to make in enabling health professionals to devote more protected time to undertake research methods training and to undertake research in a service setting. The recognition and development of primary care research has also brought with it an emphasis on quality and standards, including an approach to the new research governance framework. PRIMARY CARE RESEARCH TEAM ASSESSMENT: In 1998, the NHS Executive South and West, and later the London Research and Development Directorate, provided funding for a pilot project based at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to develop a scheme to accredit UK general practices undertaking primary care R&D. The pilot began with initial consultation on the development of the process, as well as the standards and criteria for assessment. The resulting assessment schedule allowed for assessment at one of two levels: Collaborative Research Practice (Level I), with little direct experience of gaining project or infrastructure funding Established Research Practice (Level II), with more experience of research funding and activity and a sound infrastructure to allow for growth in capacity. The process for assessment of practices involved the assessment of written documentation, followed by a half-day assessment visit by a multidisciplinary team of three assessors. IMPLEMENTATION--THE PILOT PROJECT: Pilot practices were sampled in two regions. Firstly, in the NHS Executive South West Region, where over 150 practices expressed an interest in participating. From these a purposive sample of 21 practices was selected, providing a range of research and service activity. A further seven practices were identified and included within the project through the East London and Essex Network of Researchers (ELENoR). Many in this latter group received funding and administrative support and advice from ELENoR in order to prepare written submissions for assessment. Some sample loss was encountered within the pilot project, which was attributable largely to conflicting demands on participants' time. Indeed, the preparation of written submissions within the South West coincided with the introduction of primary care groups (PCGs) in April 1999, which several practices cited as having a major impact on their participation in the pilot project. A final sample of 15 practices (nine in the South West and six through ELENoR) underwent assessment through the pilot project. EVALUATION: A formal evaluation of the Primary Care Research Team Assessment (PCRTA) pilot was undertaken by an independent researcher (FM). This was supplemented with feedback from the assessment team members. The qualitative aspect of the evaluation, which included face-to-face and telephone interviews with assessors, lead researchers and other practice staff within the pilot research practices, as well as members of the project management group, demonstrated a positive view of the pilot scheme. Several key areas were identified in relation to particular strengths of research practices and areas for development including: Strengths Level II practices were found to have a strong primary care team ethos in research. Level II practices tended to have a greater degree of strategic thinking in relation to research. Development areas Level I practices were found to lack a clear and explicit research strategy. Practices at both levels had scope to develop their communication processes for dissemination of research and also for patient involvement. Practices at both levels needed mechanisms for supporting professional development in research methodology. The evaluation demonstrated that practices felt that they had gained from their participation and assessors felt that the scheme had worked well. Some specific issues were raised by different respondents within the qualitative evaluation relating to consistency of interpretation of standards and also the possible overlap of the assessment scheme with other RCGP quality initiatives. NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIMARY CARE RESEARCH TEAM ASSESSMENT: The pilot project has been very successful and recommendations have been made to progress to a UK scheme. Management and review of the scheme will remain largely the same, with a few changes focusing on the assessment process and support for practices entering the scheme. Specific changes include: development of the support and mentoring role of the primary care research networks increased peer and external support and mentoring for research practices undergoing assessment development of assessor training in line with other schemes within the RCGP Assessment Network work to ensure consistency across RCGP accreditation schemes in relation to key criteria, thereby facilitating comparable assessment processes refinement of the definition of the two groups, with Level I practices referred to as Collaborators and Level II practices as Investigator-Led. The project has continued to generate much enthusiasm and support and continues to reflect current policy. Indeed, recent developments include the proposed new funding arrangements for primary care R&D, which refer to the RCGP assessment scheme and recognise it as a key component in the future R&D agenda. The assessment scheme will help primary care trusts (PCTs) and individual practices to prepare and demonstrate their approach to research governance in a systematic way. It will also provide a more explicit avenue for primary care trusts to explore local service and development priorities identified within health improvement programmes and the research priorities set nationally for the NHS.
AIM: To determine whether topical lidocaine benefits esophagogastroduoduenoscopy (EGD) by decreasing propofol dose necessary for sedation or procedure-related complications.
METHODS: The study was designed as a prospective, single centre, double blind, randomised clinical trial and was conducted in 2012 between January and May (NCT01489891). Consecutive patients undergoing EGD were randomly assigned to receive supplemental topical lidocaine (L; 50 mg in an excipient solution which was applied as a spray to the oropharynx) or placebo (P; taste excipients solution without active substance, similarly delivered) prior to the standard propofol sedation procedure. The propofol was administered as a bolus intravenous (iv) dose, with patients in the L and P groups receiving initial doses based on the patient’s American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) classification (ASA I-II: 0.50-0.60 mg/kg; ASA III-IV: 0.25-0.35 mg/kg), followed by 10-20 mg iv dose every 30-60 s at the anaesthetist’s discretion. Vital signs, anthropometric measurements, amount of propofol administered, sedation level reached, examination time, and the subjective assessments of the endoscopist’s and anaesthetist’s satisfaction (based upon a four point Likert scale) were recorded. All statistical tests were performed by the Stata statistical software suite (Release 11, 2009; StataCorp, LP, College Station, TX, United States).
RESULTS: No significant differences were found between the groups treated with lidocaine or placebo in terms of total propofol dose (310.7 ± 139.2 mg/kg per minute vs 280.1 ± 87.7 mg/kg per minute, P = 0.15) or intraprocedural propofol dose (135.3 ± 151.7 mg/kg per minute vs 122.7 ± 96.5 mg/kg per minute, P = 0.58). Only when the L and P groups were analysed with the particular subgroups of female, < 65-year-old, and lower anaesthetic risk level (ASA I-II) was a statistically significant difference found (L: 336.5 ± 141.2 mg/kg per minute vs P: 284.6 ± 91.2 mg/kg per minute, P = 0.03) for greater total propofol requirements). The total incidence of complications was also similar between the two groups, with the L group showing a complication rate of 32.2% (95%CI: 21.6-45.0) and the P group showing a complication rate of 26.7% (95%CI: 17.0-39.0). In addition, the use of lidocaine had no effect on the anaesthetist’s or endoscopist’s satisfaction with the procedure. Thus, the endoscopist’s satisfaction Likert assessments were equally distributed among the L and P groups: unsatisfactory, [L: 6.8% (95%CI: 2.2-15.5) vs P: 0% (95%CI: 0-4.8); neutral, L: 10.1% (95%CI: 4.2-19.9) vs P: 15% (95%CI: 7.6-25.7)]; satisfactory, [L: 25.4% (95%CI: 10-29.6) vs P: 18.3% (95%CI: 15.5-37.6); and very satisfactory, L: 57.6% (95%CI: 54-77.7) vs P: 66.6% (95%CI: 44.8-69.7)]. Likewise, the anaesthetist’s satisfaction Likert assessments regarding the ease of maintaining a patient at an optimum sedation level without agitation or modification of the projected sedation protocol were not affected by the application of lidocaine, as evidenced by the lack of significant differences between the scores for the placebo group: unsatisfactory, L: 5.8% (95%CI: 1.3-13.2) vs P: 0% (95%CI: 0-4.8); neutral, L: 16.9% (95%CI: 8.9-28.4) vs P: 16.7% (95%CI: 8.8-27.7); satisfactory, L: 15.2% (95%CI: 7.7-26.1) vs P: 20.3% (95%CI: 11.3-31.6); and very satisfactory, L: 62.7% (95%CI: 49.9-74.3) vs P: 63.3% (95%CI: 50.6-74.7).
CONCLUSION: Topical pharyngeal anaesthesia is safe in EGD but does not reduce the necessary dose of propofol or improve the anaesthetist’s or endoscopist’s satisfaction with the procedure.
Lidocaine; Propofol; Esophagogastroduodenoscopy; Sedation; Adverse effects
Utilization of herbal medicines in the preoperative period by Nigerian patients booked for day case surgery has not been explored.
Cross-sectional survey of 60 patients presenting for day-case surgery at a tertiary healthcare institution over a 3-week period in August 2011 was conducted. Using a structured questionnaire, inquiries were made concerning use of herbal medicines in the immediate preoperative period. Socio-demographic characteristics, information on use of concurrent medical prescriptions, types of herbs used, reasons for use, perceived side effects and perceived efficacy were obtained. Data were evaluated using descriptive statistics and Chi-square.
Fifty-two (86.7%) were American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class 1 while 8 (13%) were ASA 2. Most patients (86.7%) had their procedures done under local infiltration with monitored anaesthesia care (MAC), while 5.0% and 8.3% had their procedures done under regional and general anaesthesia, respectively. About 48.3% of respondents were on concurrent medical prescriptions while 51.7% were not. Forty percent (40%) of patients admitted to use of herbal medicine, all by the oral route, in the immediate perioperative period; 87.5% did not inform their doctor of their herbal use. Types of herbs used included ‘dogonyaro’, ‘agbo’, ‘nchanwu’, and Tahitian noni. Treatment of malaria was commonest reason for use in 29.2% of patients, while cough and concurrent surgical condition were reasons given by 12.5% of patients, respectively. Seventy-nine percent (79.2%) of patients considered their herbal medications effective. Perceived side effects of herbal medication (16.6%) included fever, waist pain and intoxication. There were no variations in use between ASA 1 and ASA 2 patients and none between respondents on conventional medication against those that were not. Variables such as age less than 35 years, female gender, being married and being an urban dweller did not show any significant difference in use.
This survey revealed many patients were on one or more herbal preparations in the immediate preoperative period. In consideration of possible untoward drug interactions between conventional medication, herbal preparations and anaesthesia, doctors (especially anaesthetists) should routinely assess all patients booked to be anaesthetized, especially those for day case surgery. The authors recommend surveys with larger respondent numbers to determine prevalence of use and possible interactions between indigenous Nigerian herbs and anaesthesia.
Herbal medicine use; Ambulatory anaesthesia; Day case surgery
The functions of an outpatient anaesthetic clinic are discussed in relation to the first 100 patients who attended. Preoperative assessment excluded 11 patients who would have been refused anaesthesia for elective operations without further treatment. Six of these required preoperative physiotherapy, 4 antihypertensive therapy, and 1 hospital admission for incipient myocardial infarction. The clinic also played an important role with regard to advice and reassurance of the patient from an experienced anaesthetist, organising suitable admission dates, and detecting anaesthetic and surgical hazards, especially dental caries and obesity, which could be corrected before operation. Two patients developed postoperative complications which could not have been foreseen.
Junior anaesthetists in 75 English hospitals were surveyed for their views on whether administering general anaesthetics in A&E departments provoked more anxiety than in the main theatre, and if so what factors contributed to this. Of these anaesthetists, 71% were more apprehensive working in A&E departments than in main theatre; 91% felt that they were adequately experienced but despite this there was a marked decline in apprehension with increasing experience. Sixty eight per cent of the anaesthetists thought that their assistance was inadequate and only 28% had an Operating Department Assistant (ODA). Forty eight per cent said that the equipment was inadequate in either standard or maintenance and 40% said that some of the patients were unsuitable for day case anaesthesia. The authors recommend that anaesthetists performing general anaesthetics in A&E departments should be adequately experienced using equipment provided and maintained by the anaesthetic department and assisted by adequately trained nurses or ODAs.
Background: Anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions during anaesthesia are a major cause for concern for anaesthetists. However, as individual practitioners encounter such events so rarely, the rapidity with which the diagnosis is made and appropriate management instituted varies considerably.
Objectives: To examine the role of a previously described core algorithm "COVER ABCD–A SWIFT CHECK", supplemented by a specific sub-algorithm for anaphylaxis, in the management of severe allergic reactions occurring in association with anaesthesia.
Methods: The potential performance of this structured approach for each of the relevant incidents among the first 4000 reported to the Australian Incident Monitoring Study (AIMS) was compared with the actual performance as reported by the anaesthetists involved.
Results: There were 148 allergic reactions among the first 4000 incidents reported to AIMS. It was considered that, properly applied, the structured approach would have led to a quicker and/or better resolution of the problem in 30% of cases, and would not have caused harm had it been applied in all of them.
Conclusion: An increased awareness of the diverse clinical manifestations of allergy seen in anaesthetic practice, together with the adoption of a structured approach to management should improve and standardise the treatment and improve follow up of patients suspected of having suffered a significant allergic reaction under anaesthesia.
The communication of information concerning patients with difficult airways is universally recognized as an important component in avoiding future airway management difficulties. A range of options is available to impart this information; little is known, however, about the referral patterns of anaesthetists following the identification and management of a difficult airway. In this study, 158 anaesthetists were contacted and asked to comment on their referral patterns regarding a number of difficult airway scenarios. This was followed by a retrospective survey of 124 patients with known difficult airways. A wide discrepancy was found between stated referral preferences by anaesthetists, and the actual use of options such as postoperative visits, notes in the clinical record, letters to the patient and family doctor, and entries in hospital, national and MedicAlert™ data bases. Of the patients with an airway difficulty noted on their anaesthetic record, only 14% of them also had a pertinent comment on their clinical record; even fewer were referred to hospital warning systems (12%) or national (6%) and MedicAlert™ (7%) databases.
Comments from our survey were critical of multiple difficult airway databases and alert systems which are not linked and do not lead automatically to a single source of information. We suggest that a customdesigned MedicAlert™ New Zealand difficult airway/intubation registry could be established, with easy access for medical practitioners and patients. This registry could be accessed through the National Health Index (NHI) database and linked to the MedicAlert™ International registry and their nine international affiliates.
airway; intubation; ventilation; critical airway; information systems
An increase in illicit drug use in Northern Ireland may well have links to the resolution of political conflict, which started in the mid 1990s. Social issues, heretofore hidden, have emerged into the limelight and may be worsened by paramilitary involvement.1 Registered addicts in the four Health Board areas have shown an increase from 1997 with the greatest number resident within the Northern Board Area.2 As the prevalence of heroin use in Northern Ireland increased, the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) commissioned a report, to recommend the development of substitute prescribing services.3 A case series of pregnancies was reviewed, within the Northern Board Area, where the mother was taking opioid substitution therapy. This resulted in baseline data of outcome for both mother and baby specific to a Northern Ireland population. The different medications for opioid substitution are also assessed. This information will guide a co-ordinated approach that involves obstetrician, anaesthetist, psychiatrist, midwife and social worker to the care of these high-risk pregnancies. Eighteen pregnancies were identified in the study period. Sixteen of these had viable outcomes. One was a twin pregnancy. Outcome data was therefore available for 17 infants.
Information was obtained regarding patients' social and demographic background, drug taking behaviour and substitution regimen. Antenatal and intrapartum care was assessed and infants were followed up to the time of hospital discharge.
A survey was carried out to ascertain the current provision of general paediatric surgery (GPS) in all hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with 100% return rate. The provision of GPS is at a crossroads with a drift of these cases to the overstretched, tertiary referral hospitals.
The regional representatives on the council of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) obtained data from their regions. Any gaps in the data were completed by the author telephoning the remaining hospitals to ascertain their current provision.
A total of 325 acute hospitals are potentially available to admit elective and/or emergency paediatric patients, of which 25 hospitals provide a tertiary paediatric surgical service. Of the remaining ‘non-tertiary’ hospitals, 138 provide elective GPS and 147 provide emergency GPS. The ages at which GPS is carried out varies considerably, but 76% of non-tertiary hospitals provide elective GPS to those over the age of 2 years. The ages of emergency cases are 24% over the age of 2 years and 51.5% over the age of 5 years. The age at which surgery is carried out is dependent on the anaesthetic provision. Subspecialisation within each hospital has taken place with a limited number of surgeons providing the elective surgery. ‘Huband-spoke’ provision of GPS to a district general hospital (DGH) from a tertiary centre is embryonic with only 11 surgeons currently in post. An estimate of the annual elective case load of GPS based on the average number of cases done on an operation list works out at 23,000 cases done outwith the tertiary centres.
Almost 10 years ago, a change in the training of young surgeons took place. An increase in training posts in Tertiary centres was made available following advice from the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons (BAPS) but these posts were often not taken up. Many DGH surgeons became uncertain whether they should continue GPS training. A subtle change in the wording of the general guidance by the Royal College of Anaesthetists altered the emphasis on the age at which it was appropriate to anaesthetise children. Change in clinical practice, reducing need, and a drift towards tertiary centres has reduced DGH operations by 30% over a decade. Young surgeons are now seldom exposed to this surgery, and are not being trained in it. The large volume of these low-risk operations in well children cannot be absorbed into the current tertiary centres due to pressure on beds. The future provision of this surgery is at risk unless action is taken now. This survey was carried out to inform the debate, and to make recommendations for the future. The principal recommendations are that: (i) GPS should continue to be provided as at present in those DGHs equipped to do so; (ii) GPS training should be carried out in the DGHs where a high volume of cases is carried out; (iii) management of these cases should use a network approach in each region; (iv) hospital trusts should actively advertise for an interest in GPS as a second subspecialty; and (v) the SAC in general surgery develop a strategy to make GPS relevant to trainee surgeons.
Child; Surgical procedures; Elective; Hospitals; General