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Found 146 results
  1. Content Article
    People with kidney failure or chronic kidney disease, whose kidneys have stopped working properly, may need dialysis. This therapy takes over the normal function of the kidneys and removes waste products and excess fluid from the blood. Many people have regular dialysis in hospital, where fluids are filtered by a machine (haemodialysis). In peritoneal dialysis, often carried out at home, a catheter is inserted in the abdomen and left there permanently. A catheter can be inserted under general anaesthetic by a surgeon, or without a general anaesthetic by a physician using a needle (medical insertion). Medical insertions have become more common in recent years due to a lack of access to surgeons and theatre space; they have the advantage of being possible in people who are not well enough to have a general anaesthetic. However, evidence on the safety and efficacy of medical insertions is lacking. This study assessed the number of safety events following catheter insertions for peritoneal dialysis via the medical and surgical route. Researchers explored the reasons for choosing medical, versus surgical catheter insertions.
  2. Content Article
    This study examines the variability in how different anaesthesia providers approach patient care, to provide insight into the source and necessity of variations in practice, the implications of different individual preferences and the subsequent consequences on approaches to safety that emphasise standardisation. The authors argue that the differences in how anaesthesia providers approach their work call into question whether ‘standardisation’ is always the best approach to improve safety in anaesthesia. They state that this work reinforces the idea that it is the humans in the system, with their flexibility and expertise, who are the primary source of everyday safety.
  3. Content Article
    This Twitter thread summarises the views of Dr Ian Jackson, a retired consultant anaesthetist and former Foundation Training Programme Director, on the patient safety and training issues relating to Anaesthesia Associates (AAs). He highlights issues with the length of training AAs receive compared with anaesthetists, the difference in training individuals who have experience in healthcare and theatre roles and those who have not and the supervision model in the current AA scope of practice.
  4. Content Article
    Peripheral nerve blocks (PNB) are safe and effective alternatives or supplements to general anaesthesia. They may improve pain control both during and after surgery, thus avoiding many of the side effects of systemic opioids. PNBs may also lead to improved patient satisfaction, decreased resource utilization, and may be better for the environment by decreasing usage of aesthetic gases and other medications. With the growing use of peripheral nerve blocks in the United States, this paper examines safety issues surrounding the procedures. It examines the safety of nerve blocks as it relates to: nerve injury recognition and treatment of local anaesthetic systemic toxicity (LAST) appropriate health care professional performance of timeouts to avoid wrong-site blocks.
  5. Content Article
    This National Patient Safety Alert has been issued by the NHS England National Patient Safety Team, co-badged by the Association of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Safe Anaesthesia Liaison Group, instructing all relevant NHS funded providers to transition to NRFit™ connectors for all intrathecal and epidural procedures, and delivery of regional blocks. Transition should be completed by 31 January 2025.
  6. Content Article
    Emergence delirium is a temporary but potentially dangerous condition that can occur when a patient awakens after a procedure. In this video, staff at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) share how they implemented a perioperative intervention to reduce the risk of patient and staff harm.
  7. Content Article
    This article in Anaesthesia Critical Care & Pain Medicine aims to provide guidelines to define the place of human factors in the management of critical situations in anaesthesia and critical care. The authors aimed to formulate recommendations according to the GRADE® (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) methodology for four different fields:communicationorganisationworking environmenttrainingThe guidelines produced include a set of recommendations to guide human factors in critical situations.
  8. Content Article
    Antonio Gonzalez speaks to Susan Standford for the Yale Anesthesiology podcast on intraoperative pain. Susanna is a patient who experienced intraoperative pain, and knowing she was not alone, she has actively raised awareness of this issue. In her own words, “Being able to feel major abdominal surgery is every bit as horrific as it sounds.” They discuss neuraxial anaesthesia for CS, guidance on testing and managing blocks, women being labelled ‘anxious’, outcome measures and targets.
  9. Content Article
    This tool is based on the Surgical Safety Checklist developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009. It should be used at three key transitions in care: Before anaesthesia is given Immediately prior to incision Before the patient is taken out of the operating room The checklist is not intended to be comprehensive, and additions and modifications to fit local practice are encouraged.
  10. News Article
    Undergoing a medical procedure without an anaesthetic felt like being "flayed alive", according to Dee Dickens. The 53-year-old is one of many in the UK who have reported having a hysteroscopy, which is used to examine the uterus, without enough pain relief. Clinical guidelines say patients must be given anaesthetic options before the gynaecological exam. Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board said it was concerned by the experiences of Ms Dickens and urged her to get in touch. Ms Dickens, from Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf, had a hysteroscopy as an outpatient at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant after experiencing bleeding despite being menopausal. Ms Dickens said her medical notes and past childhood sexual abuse were not considered and she was not offered a local anaesthetic prior to the procedure in October 2022. Due to underlying health conditions, including fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes (EDS), she was reluctant to have a general anaesthetic as it would have left her "poorly for weeks" so she had the hysteroscopy on painkillers only. "Everybody's bustling, so it's really difficult to advocate for yourself," said Ms Dickens. When the procedure began, she said she felt extreme pain, adding: "I was very aware that I was a black woman who felt like she was being experimented on with no anaesthetic. "They took out my coil and then they started on the biopsies and good God, that felt like being flayed alive. It was awful. "It was like having my insides scraped out and blown up all at the same time." Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 November 2023 What is your experience of having a hysteroscopy? Add your story to our painful hysteroscopy hub community thread.
  11. Content Article
    Potentially serious complications occurred in 1 in 18 procedures under the care of an anaesthetist in UK hospitals, according to a national audit by the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCA). Risks were found to be highest in babies, males, patients with frailty, people with comorbidities, and patients with obesity. Risks were also associated with the urgency and extent of surgery and procedures taking place at night and/or at weekends.  The survey, published in Anaesthesia, was the RCA's seventh national audit project (NAP7) and included more than 20,000 procedures at over 350 hospital sites. NAPs study rare but potentially serious complications related to anaesthesia, and are intended to drive improvements in practice. Each focuses on a different topic and NAP7 examined perioperative cardiac arrest.  Dr Andrew Kane, consultant in anaesthesia at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and a fellow at the RCA's Health Services Research Centre in London, said the new data presented "the first estimates for the rates of potentially serious complications and critical incidents observed during modern anaesthetic practice". The data confirmed that individual complications are uncommon during elective practice, but highlight the relatively higher rate of complications in emergency settings.
  12. Content Article
    Marsha Jadoonanan, nurse and Head of Patient Safety and Learning at HCA Healthcare UK (HCA UK), spoke to us about a recent opportunity to learn from patient safety incidents involving wrong site anaesthetic blocks. She describes the new learning approach she and her colleagues used, which focused on engaging staff working in a variety of roles to create a safe space to focus on identifying ‘work as done’.
  13. Content Article
    Commercial aviation practices, including the role of the pilot monitoring, the sterile flight deck rule, and computerised checklists, have direct applicability to anaesthesia care. Checklists are commonly used in the operating room, especially the World Health Organization surgical safety checklist. However, the use of aviation-style computerised checklists offers additional benefits. In this editorial, Jelacic et al. discuss how these commercial aviation practices may be applied in the operating room.
  14. Event
    The Safe Anaesthesia Liaison Group (SALG) Patient Safety Conference will be held virtually this year on Thursday 23 November 2023. The first session will include engaging lectures around the current work of SALG, and the second session will focus on topical issues in relation to a selected group or society (yet to be announced). There will be a prize session for accepted abstracts, with a poster section and oral presentations. This online conference is being organised by SALG co-chairs, Dr Peter Young from the Association of Anaesthetists, Dr Felicity Platt, Royal College of Anaesthetists The day will provide valuable knowledge for doctors engaged in clinical anaesthesia, pain management and intensive care medicine, and who have an interest in improving patient safety. Register
  15. Content Article
    A series of podcasts from Molnlycke UK, with host Steve Feast, discussing topics such as sustainability, patient safety and more.
  16. News Article
    Measures for avoiding medication errors with the injectable agents used routinely in anaesthesia care have been recommended in new guidelines from the Association of Anaesthetists. The guidelines, published in Anaesthesia, the journal of the Association of Anaesthetists, were drawn up "in response to requests for guidance from members in view of continuing incidents of medication errors and patient harm." The working party of UK anaesthesia experts that drew up the guidance emphasised the potential safety benefits of using prefilled and labelled syringes, as well as aids such as colour-coded medication trays. It highlighted that these were not yet in widespread use within the NHS. The group noted that unlike many healthcare workers, anaesthetists usually undertook medication preparation (transfer from labelled ampoules into unlabelled syringes) in a solo capacity, and that there could be an average of 10 medication administrations per anaesthetic procedure. Labelling errors have been reported in around 1–1.25% of peri-operative administrations, and medication substitutions in 0.2% of administrations during anaesthesia. The working party, chaired by Dr Mike Kinsella, honorary consultant in the Department of Anaesthesia at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston, said it aimed "to provide pragmatic safety steps" for use within operating theatres, as well as goals for the development of "a collaborative approach to reducing errors" as a basis for "instilling good practice." "It is important to acknowledge that every practitioner is open to error," the authors said, noting that the risk could increase over time during a case, especially if an anaesthetist's performance was diminished by fatigue. Read full story Source: Medscape, 10 August 2023
  17. News Article
    A trust at the centre of a maternity scandal has been failing to meet Royal College standards in one of its maternity units, HSJ can reveal. The duty anaesthetist for the maternity unit at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford has also had to cover the hospital’s primary percutaneous coronary intervention suite. This could mean no anaesthetist is available to carry out an emergency Caesarean if they are needed to treat a heart attack patient. This goes against Royal College of Anaesthetists’ guidelines, which say a duty anaesthetist must be “immediately available for the obstetric unit 24/7”. The guidelines add that where the duty anaesthetist has other responsibilities – because, for example, they work at a smaller maternity unit where the workload does not justify them being there exclusively – then “these should be of a nature that would allow the activity to be immediately delayed or interrupted should obstetric work arise”. The William Harvey unit is East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust’s major birth centre. The trust has around 6,500 births a year – the majority at the WHH – and was heavily criticised for poor maternity care in a report by Bill Kirkup last year. Read full story Source: HSJ. 17 July 2023
  18. News Article
    A grieving family has welcomed new guidance to try to prevent a common surgical procedure from going wrong and causing deaths. Oesophageal intubation occurs when a breathing tube is placed into the oesophagus, the tube leading to the stomach, instead of the trachea, the tube leading to the windpipe. It can lead to brain damage or death if not spotted promptly. Glenda Logsdail died at Milton Keynes University Hospital in 2020 after a breathing tube was accidentally inserted into her oesophagus. The 60-year-old radiographer was being prepared for an appendicitis operation when the error occurred. Her family welcomed the guidance, saying in a statement: “We miss her terribly but we know that she’d be happy that something good will come from her tragic death and that nobody else will go through what we’ve had to go through as a family." Oesophageal intubation can occur for a number of reasons including technical difficulties, clinician inexperience, movement of the tube or “distorted anatomy”. The mistake is relatively common but usually detected quickly with no resulting harm. The new guidance, published in the journal Anaesthesia, recommends that exhaled carbon dioxide monitoring and pulse oximetry – which measures oxygen levels in the blood – should be available and used for all procedures that require a breathing tube. Experts from the UK and Australia also recommended the use of a video-laryngoscope – an intubation device fitted with a video camera to improve the view – when a breathing tube is being inserted. Read full story Source: The Independent,18 August 2022
  19. News Article
    Patient safety campaigners have said ‘too many women’ are still not being offered a general anaesthetic for a diagnostic test because of staff shortages, leaving them in severe pain. A survey by the Campaign Against Painful Hysteroscopies found around 240 women – which equates to 80 per cent of respondents – who had a hysteroscopy since the start of 2021 said they were not told they could have a general anaesthetic prior to the procedure. This suggests the situation has only improved marginally since 2019, when the campaign group first started collecting data. A spokeswoman from the campaign group called the pain being endured by women “barbaric” and said staffing shortages need to be addressed. Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said all pain relief options, including general anaesthetic, should be discussed. Helen Hughes, chief executive of Patient Safety Learning, said: “We are hearing from too many women that they are not being given the full information about the procedure. It damages their trust and makes them worry about accessing future services.” She said: “It’s distressing that despite what we know, [the guidance] is not being implemented properly. Informed consent is essential for patient safety as well as a legal requirement.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 7 June 2022 What is your experience of having a hysteroscopy? Share your experiences on the hub in our community forum. Further reading: House of Commons Debate - NHS Hysteroscopy Treatment Through the hysteroscope: Reflections of a gynaecologist Minister acknowledges patients’ concerns about painful hysteroscopies; but will action be taken? Improving hysteroscopy safety: Patient Safety Learning blog Outpatient hysteroscopy: RCOG patient leaflet
  20. News Article
    Women undergoing NHS operations are not being routinely informed that a drug commonly used in anaesthesia may make their contraception less effective, putting them at risk of an unplanned pregnancy, doctors have warned. Administered at the end of surgery before patients wake up, sugammadex reverses the action of drugs that are given earlier in the procedure to relax the patient’s muscles. The drug is known to interact with the hormone progesterone and may reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives, including the progesterone-only pill, combined pill, vaginal rings, implants and intra-uterine devices. However, new research suggests that robust methods for identifying at-risk patients and informing them of the associated risk of contraceptive failures is not common practice across anaesthetic departments in the UK. Current guidance says doctors must inform women of child-bearing age about the drug. Women taking oral hormonal contraceptives should be advised to follow the missed pill advice in the leaflet that comes with their contraceptives, and those using other types of hormonal contraceptive should be advised to use an additional non-hormonal means of contraception for seven days. But doctors at a major London hospital trust found no record within the medical notes of relevant patients that they had been given advice on the risks of contraceptive failure due to sugammadex. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 2 June 2022
  21. News Article
    Scotland has become the first country in the world to stop its hospitals using the anaesthetic desflurane because of the threat it poses to the environment. NHS data suggests the gas, used to keep people unconscious during surgery, has a global warming potential 2,500 times greater than carbon dioxide. Banning it in Scotland - from its peak use in 2017 - would cut emissions equal to powering 1,700 homes a year. In the last few years, more than 40 hospital trusts in England and a number of hospitals in Wales have stopped using it. Dr Kenneth Barker, anaesthetist and clinical lead for Scotland's national green theatres programme, said he was shocked to find the anaesthetic drug he had used for more than a decade for many major and routine operations was so harmful to the environment. "I realised in 2017 that the amount of desflurane we used in a typical day's work as an anaesthetist resulted in emissions equivalent to me driving 670 miles that day," he said. "I decided to stop using it straight away and many fellow anaesthetists have got on board. "When you are faced with something as obvious as this and with the significance it has to the environment - I am very glad we have got to this stage." Read full story Source: BBC News, 3 March 2023
  22. News Article
    A senior coroner has warned that more allergy sufferers will die due to a “lack of national leadership” following the death of a 17-year-old aspiring doctor. Heidi Connor said the “tragic” case of Alexandra Briess was “not new territory”, citing three recent cases where people had died from anaphylaxis. She has now written to the Government saying lives are at risk without better funding and research into the condition and calling for the appointment of an allergies tsar. The Berkshire coroner’s warning comes after an inquest into the death of “bright and well loved” Alexandra, who died from a reaction to a common anaesthetic. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 18 April 2023
  23. Content Article
    Methoxyflurane, an agent formerly used as a volatile anaesthetic but that has strong analgesic properties, will soon become available again in the UK and Europe in the form of a small hand-held inhaler. Gaskell et al. describe their experience in the use of inhaled methoxyflurane for procedural analgesia within a large tertiary hospital in New Zealand.
  24. Content Article
    Sedation for therapeutic and investigative procedures in healthcare is extensively and increasingly used. In 2013 the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (the Academy) published Safe sedation practice for healthcare procedures: Standards and guidance (this updated and replaced earlier guidance). The guidance recommended core knowledge, skills and competencies required for the safe delivery of effective sedation. It also highlighted that safety will be enhanced by the provision of achievable standards, along with the availability of appropriate facilities and monitoring used under good organisational governance of staffing, equipment, education and practice. However, despite this, avoidable morbidity and mortality continue to occur. Service reviews by the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ (RCoA’s) Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA) programme suggest that the recommendations in the 2013 guidance have not been fully acted upon by many hospitals. Therefore, this update summarises the recommendations to provide regulators with a set of standards against which to inspect facilities providing sedation and to ensure that safety standards are being met.
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