10 Recent Anesthesia Findings

Here are 10 recent findings impacting the anesthesia community, according to reports from various anesthesia journals, conferences and societies.

1. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine recently found that different anesthetic drugs create different patterns in the brain, a discovery that may be an important step to understanding how anesthesia actually works, according to an NPR report.

2. A secure clinical event reporting system linked to an anesthesia information management system captured almost twice the number of adverse events as usual, according to a study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia.

3. Dreaming is almost five times more common with propofol infusion than with midazolam in patients receiving spinal anesthesia with deep sedation, according to a study published in the April 2011 issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

4. Heat shock protein 72 overexpression could prevent the development of post-operative memory loss, according to a study published in the April 2011 issue of Anesthesiology.

5. More research is needed on strategic decisions by anesthesiology groups, particularly focusing on the threat of new entrants, bargaining power of suppliers and threat of substitute products or services, according to a study published in Anesthesia and Analgesia.

6. Anesthesiologists must always wear face masks when material is injected into the epidural or spinal space, regardless of location, according to a post in Anesthesiology by J. Lance Lichtor, MD, professor of anesthesiology at The University of Massachusetts Medical School.

7. The prevalence of amnestic mild cognitive impairment in patients scheduled for total hip joint replacement is similar to that in the general community, according to a study published in the April 2011 issue of Anesthesiology. The study concluded that PreCI and mild cognitive impairment tend to identify different subjects. Because amnestic mild cognitive impairment is known to progress to Alzheimer's, future studies should document the presence or absence of pre-existing impairment so the rate of conversion to the disease after anesthesia or surgery can be compared with the overall population.

8. Obese patients with high blood pressure and diabetes are at much higher risk for major complications following non-cardiac surgery than otherwise healthy obese patients, according to a release by the University of Rochester Medical Center. The new finding, published in the journal Anesthesiology, diverges from previous research associating obesity with a lower risk of death and complications after non-cardiac surgery. The new study helps clarify the "obesity paradox," that a high body mass index confers a protective effect in certain circumstances.

9. Ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks have a higher success rate compared to nerve stimulation or other methods, according to a study conducted by the Department of Anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins University and published in the Journal of Clinical Anesthesia.

10. Reduction of tidal volume in mechanically ventilated patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery could improve secondary outcomes, according to a report published in Anesthesiology.

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