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Journal: Anesthesia and analgesia


Postoperative nausea (PON) is a common complication of anesthesia and surgery. Antiemetic medication for higher-risk patients may reduce but does not reliably prevent PON. We examined aromatherapy as a treatment for patients experiencing PON after ambulatory surgery. Our primary hypothesis was that in comparison with inhaling a placebo, PON will be reduced significantly by aromatherapy with (1) essential oil of ginger, (2) a blend of essential oils of ginger, spearmint, peppermint, and cardamom, or (3) isopropyl alcohol. Our secondary hypothesis was that the effectiveness of aromatherapy will depend upon the agent used.

Concepts: Alcohol, Ethanol, Chemotherapy, Carbon, Anesthesia, Essential oil, Ginger, Oil


Various hydroxyethyl starch (HES) preparations have been used for decades to augment blood volume. There has been concern recently regarding possible adverse outcomes when using HES in the intensive care setting, especially in patients with septic shock. However, the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of HES preparations depend on their chemical composition and source material. Thus, different clinical conditions could result in differing effectiveness and safety for these preparations. Consequently, we assessed the safety of tetrastarches when used during surgery, using a formal search, that yielded 59 primary full publications of studies that met a priori inclusion criteria and randomly allocated 4529 patients with 2139 patients treated with tetrastarch compared with 2390 patients treated with a comparator. There were no indications that the use of tetrastarches during surgery induces adverse renal effects as assessed by change or absolute concentrations of serum creatinine or need for renal replacement therapy (39 trials, 3389 patients), increased blood loss (38 trials, 3280 patients), allogeneic erythrocyte transfusion (20 trials, 2151 patients; odds ratio for HES transfusion 0.73 [95% confidence interval = 0.61-0.87], P = 0.0005), or increased mortality (odds ratio for HES mortality = 0.51 [0.24-1.05], P = 0.079).

Concepts: Blood, Intensive care medicine, Renal physiology, Starch, Septic shock, Hypovolemia, Blood transfusion, 3rd millennium


BACKGROUND:Theoretically, communication systems have the potential to increase the productivity of anesthesiologists supervising anesthesia providers. We evaluated the maximal potential of communication systems to increase the productivity of anesthesia care by enhancing anesthesiologists' coordination of care (activities) among operating rooms (ORs).METHODS:At hospital A, data for 13,368 pages were obtained from files recorded in the internal alphanumeric text paging system. Pages from the postanesthesia care unit were processed through a numeric paging system and thus not included. At hospital B, in a different US state, 3 of the authors categorized each of 898 calls received using the internal wireless audio system (Vocera(®)). Lower and upper 95% confidence limits for percentages are the values reported.RESULTS:At least 45% of pages originated from outside the ORs (e.g., 20% from holding area) at hospital A and at least 56% of calls (e.g., 30% administrative) at hospital B. In contrast, requests from ORs for urgent presence of the anesthesiologist were at most 0.2% of pages at hospital A and 1.8% of calls at hospital B.CONCLUSIONS:Approximately half of messages to supervising anesthesiologists are for activity originating outside the ORs being supervised. To use communication tools to increase anesthesia productivity on the day of surgery, their use should include a focus on care coordination outside ORs (e.g., holding area) and among ORs (e.g., at the control desk).

Concepts: Surgery, Anesthesia, Confidence interval, Anesthesiologist, Operating system, Media technology, Post anesthesia care unit, Paging


BACKGROUND:In Japan, routine clinical care does not normally involve the use of a monitoring device to guide the administration of neuromuscular blocking drugs or their antagonists. Although most previous reports demonstrate that sugammadex offers more rapid and reliable antagonism from rocuronium-induced neuromuscular blockade, this advantage has not been confirmed in clinical settings when no neuromuscular monitoring is used. In this multicenter observational study, we sought to determine whether sugammadex reduces the incidence of postoperative residual weakness compared with neostigmine when the administration of rocuronium and its antagonists is not guided by neuromuscular monitoring.METHODS:This study was conducted in two 5-month periods that preceded and followed the introduction of sugammadex into clinical practice in Japan. Five university-affiliated teaching hospitals participated in this study. Neostigmine was used to antagonize rocuronium-induced neuromuscular blockade in the first phase, and sugammadex was used in the second phase. The timing and doses of rocuronium, neostigmine, and sugammadex were determined by the attending anesthesiologists without the use of neuromuscular function monitoring devices. To ascertain the incidence of postoperative residual neuromuscular weakness, the train-of-four ratio (TOFR) was determined acceleromyographically after tracheal extubation. Since our practice also does not usually involve calibration and normalization of accelerographic responses, both TOFR <0.9 and TOFR <1.0 were used as the criteria for defining postoperative residual weakness.RESULTS:In the first phase, 109 patients received neostigmine (average dose 33 µg/kg) and 23 patients were considered (by clinical criteria) to have adequate recovery and did not receive neostigmine (spontaneous recovery group). In the second phase, 117 patients received sugammadex (average dose 2.7 mg/kg) for antagonism of rocuronium-induced blockade. The incidence (95% confidence interval) of TOFR <0.9 under spontaneous recovery, after neostigmine, and after sugammadex, was 13.0% (2.8%-33.6%), 23.9% (16.2%-33.0%), and 4.3% (1.7%-9.4%), respectively. The incidence (95% confidence interval) of TOFR <1.0 in these groups was 69.6% (47.1%-86.6%), 67.0% (57.3%-75.7%), and 46.2% (36.9%-55.6%), respectively. The use of sevoflurane in the neostigmine group and the short interval between the administration of the last doses of rocuronium and sugammadex were associated with a higher incidence of postoperative residual weakness.CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrated that the risk of TOFR <0.9 after tracheal extubation after sugammadex remains as high as 9.4% in a clinical setting in which neuromuscular monitoring (objective or subjective) was not used. Our finding underscores the importance of neuromuscular monitoring even when sugammadex is used for antagonism of rocuronium-induced neuromuscular block.

Concepts: Normal distribution, Muscle relaxants, Neuromuscular-blocking drug


The way hemodynamic therapies are delivered today in anesthesia and critical care is suboptimal. Hemodynamic variables are not always understood correctly and used properly. The adoption of hemodynamic goal-directed strategies, known to be clinically useful, is poor. Ensuring therapies are delivered effectively is the goal of decision support tools and closed loop systems. Graphical displays (metaphor screens) may help clinicians to better capture and integrate the multivariable hemodynamic information. This may result in faster and more accurate diagnosis and therapeutic decisions. Graphical displays (target screens) have the potential to increase adherence to goal-directed strategies and ultimately improve patients' outcomes, but this remains to be confirmed by prospective studies. Closed loop systems are the ultimate solution to ensure therapies are delivered. However, most therapeutic decisions cannot be based on a limited number of output variables. Therefore, one should focus on the development of systems designed to relieve clinicians from very simple and repetitive tasks. Whether intraoperative goal-directed fluid therapy may be one of these tasks remains to be evaluated.

Concepts: Medicine, Therapy, Classification of Pharmaco-Therapeutic Referrals, Decision theory, Control theory, Decision support system, Graphic design, Medical error


BACKGROUND:We compared the subjective quality of pulmonary auscultation between 2 acoustic stethoscopes (Holtex Ideal® and Littmann Cardiology III®) and an electronic stethoscope (Littmann 3200®) in the operating room.METHODS:A prospective double-blind randomized study with an evaluation during mechanical ventilation was performed in 100 patients. After each examination, the listeners using a numeric scale (0-10) rated the quality of auscultation. Auscultation quality was compared in patients among stethoscopes with a multilevel mixed-effects linear regression with random intercept (operator effect), adjusted on significant factors in univariate analysis. A significant difference was defined as P < 0.05.RESULTS:One hundred comparative evaluations of pulmonary auscultation were performed. The quality of auscultation was rated 8.2 ± 1.6 for the electronic stethoscope, 7.4 ± 1.8 for the Littmann Cardiology III, and 4.6 ± 1.8 for the Holtex Ideal. Compared with Holtex Ideal, auscultation quality was significantly higher with other stethoscopes (P < 0.0001). Compared with Littmann Cardiology III, auscultation quality was significantly higher with Littmann 3200 electronic stethoscope (β = 0.9 [95% confidence interval, 0.5-1.3]).CONCLUSIONS:An electronic stethoscope can provide a better quality of pulmonary auscultation than acoustic stethoscopes in the operating room, yet with a magnitude of improvement marginally higher than that provided with a high performance acoustic stethoscope. Whether this can translate into a clinically relevant benefit requires further studies.

Concepts: Medicine, Evaluation, Randomness, Statistical inference, Heart sounds, Auscultation, Stethoscope, David Littmann


Contactless, camera-based photoplethysmography (PPG) interrogates shallower skin layers than conventional contact probes, either transmissive or reflective. This raises questions on the calibratability of camera-based pulse oximetry.

Concepts: Cardiology, Medical tests, Pulse oximeter


It has been suggested that longer-term postsurgical outcome may be adversely affected by less than severe hypotension under anesthesia. However, evidence-based guidelines are unavailable. The present study was designed to develop a method for identifying patients at increased risk of death within 30 days in association with the severity and duration of intraoperative hypotension.

Concepts: Present, Time, Surgery, Hypotension


BACKGROUND:The use of normal saline is associated with hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis. In this study, we sought to determine the incidence of acute postoperative hyperchloremia (serum chloride >110 mEq/L) and whether this electrolyte disturbance is associated with an increase in length of hospital stay, morbidity, or 30-day postoperative mortality.METHODS:Data were retrospectively collected on consecutive adult patients (>18 years of age) who underwent inpatient, noncardiac, nontransplant surgery between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2008. The impact of postoperative hyperchloremia on patient morbidity and length of hospital stay was examined using propensity-matched and logistic multivariable analysis.RESULTS:The dataset consisted of 22,851 surgical patients with normal preoperative serum chloride concentration and renal function. Acute postoperative hyperchloremia (serum chloride >110 mmol/L) is quite common, with an incidence of 22%. Patients were propensity-matched based on their likelihood to develop acute postoperative hyperchloremia. Of the 4955 patients with hyperchloremia after surgery, 4266 (85%) patients were matched to patients who had normal serum chloride levels after surgery. These 2 groups were well balanced with respect to all variables collected. The hyperchloremic group was at increased risk of mortality at 30 days postoperatively (3.0% vs 1.9%; odds ratio = 1.58; 95% confidence interval, 1.25-1.98) (relative risk 1.6 or risk increase of 1.1%) and had a longer hospital stay (7.0 days [interquartile range 4.1-12.3] compared with 6.3 [interquartile range 4.0-11.3]) than patients with normal postoperative serum chloride levels. Patients with postoperative hyperchloremia were more likely to have postoperative renal dysfunction. Using all preoperative variables and measured outcome variables in a logistic regression analysis, hyperchloremia remained an independent predictor of 30-day mortality with an odds ratio of 2.05 (95% confidence interval, 1.62-2.59).CONCLUSION:This retrospective cohort trial demonstrates an association between hyperchloremia and poor postoperative outcome. Additional studies are required to demonstrate a causal relationship between these variables.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Cohort study, Logistic regression, Epidemiology, Hospital, Medical statistics, Relative risk, Normal distribution


We describe an evidence-based approach for optimization of infection control and operating room management during the COVID-19 pandemic. Confirmed modes of viral transmission are primarily but not exclusively contact with contaminated environmental surfaces and aerosolization. Evidence-based improvement strategies for attenuation of residual environmental contamination involve a combination of deep cleaning with surface disinfectants and ultraviolet light (UV-C). (1) Place alcohol-based hand rubs on the IV pole to the left of the provider. Double glove during induction. (2) Place a wire basket lined with a zip closure plastic bag, on the IV pole to the right of the provider. Place all contaminated instruments in the bag (i.e. laryngoscope blades and handles) and close. Designate and maintain clean and dirty areas. After induction of anesthesia, wipe down all equipment and surfaces with disinfection wipes that contain a quaternary ammonium compound and alcohol. Use a top down cleaning sequence adequate to reduce bioburden. Treat operating rooms using UV-C. (3) Decolonize patients using pre-procedural chlorhexidine wipes, 2 doses of nasal povidone iodine within one hour of incision, and chlorhexidine mouth rinse. (4) Create a closed lumen IV system and use hub disinfection. (5) Provide data feedback by surveillance of ESKAPE transmission. (6) To reduce the use of surgical masks and to reduce potential COVID-19 exposure, use relatively long (e.g., 12-hour) staff shifts. If there are 8 essential cases to be done (each lasting 1-2 hours), the ideal solution is to have 2 teams complete the 8 cases, not 8 first case starts. (7) Do 1 case in each operating room daily, with terminal cleaning after each case including UV-C or equivalent. (8) Do not have patients go into a large, pooled phase I post-anesthesia care unit, because of the risk of contaminating facility at large along with many staff. Instead, have most patients recover in the room where they had surgery, like done routinely in Japan. These 8 programmatic recommendations stand on a substantial body of empirical evidence characterizing the epidemiology of perioperative transmission and infection development made possible by support from the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF).