Some great news was reported out of the ASA conference in New Orleans. Out of over three million anesthesia cases examined between 2010 and 2013, which is about a quarter of all anesthesia procedures performed in the country, researchers found that anesthesia complications decreased from 11.8% to 4.8%. The risk of dying dropped to a tiny 0.03%
Forget the fears of having surgery on weekends or evening hours, at least as far as anesthesia risk is concerned. They found no evidence that anesthesia complications were any higher during a hospital's off hours than normal business hours.
Patients over fifty had the highest rate of adverse events. The most common minor complication was post operative nausea and vomiting, 35.53%. The most common major complication was medication error.
This is the kind of data that we anesthesiologists should be trumpeting every day to refute all the scary stories about anesthesia and anesthesiologists that pervade popular media. With the incredible strides our profession is making in patient safety, this information will make it even tougher for the ASA to prove that anesthesiologists provide a safer anesthetic than CRNA's. But at least they aren't declaring war on the nurses this year. Peace.