Automated Alerts May Increase Anesthesiologists' Use of Low Tidal Volume

Research suggests automated alerts to anesthesiologists' pagers may increase their use of lung-protective ventilation strategies for patients with suspected acute lung injury, according to an Anesthesiology News report.

Researchers electronically notified anesthesiologists of patients with impaired gas exchange — a PaO2-to-FIO2 ratio less than 300 within 24 hours of surgery — and recommended low tidal volume of 6 mL per kilogram of predicted body weight. The notification also included a link to a website that suggested positive end-expiratory pressure. The researchers compared the behavior of these anesthesiologists with those who had not received notifications.

Results showed that although the notification group tended to use lower tidal volumes and pressures, the difference compared to the control group was not statistically significant. Furthermore, the group that received notifications did not reduce the volume to the recommended amount. The researchers suggest that while a notification may cause anesthesiologists to use lower tidal volumes, more research is needed on lung-protective ventilation strategies. 

The researchers presented the results at the 2011 annual meeting of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, according to the Anesthesiology News report.

Read the Anesthesiology News report on lung-protective ventilation strategies.

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