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Standardizing care and monitoring for anesthesia or procedural sedation delivered outside the operating room

Eichhorn, Volker; Henzler, Dietrich; Murphy, Michael F

Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology: August 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - p 494–499
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0b013e32833b9c9f
Anesthesia outside the operating room: Edited by Alwin E. Goetz

Purpose of review The purpose of this review is to summarize recommendations for the safe and efficient conductance of sedation and anesthesia at remote locations; and to define safety standards, monitoring techniques, quality of care and procedural eligibility.

Recent findings Anesthesia outside of the operating room is rapidly increasing in numbers, which has seen a growth of older and sicker patients. These circumstances have created a need for guidelines, for both specialist anesthesia providers and nonanesthesia-trained practitioners, that define patient selection, minimum monitoring (hemodynamics and respiration), facility design and equipment, policy framework, recovery facilities and policies. The patient's safety throughout all stages of sedation and/or anesthesia is the most pertinent goal. Recent data emphasize the importance of monitoring pulse oximetry and end-tidal carbon dioxide for any sedating or anesthetic procedure. Substandard monitoring combined with oversedation and subsequent respiratory depression are implicated as the main reasons for catastrophic sedation and anesthetic outcomes at remote locations.

Summary Patient selection, procedure appropriateness and location appropriateness are the key elements defining the provision of safe anesthesia care outside the operating room. Titratable, short-acting intravenous drugs are preferred such as propofol and remifentanil.

Department of Anesthesia, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Correspondence to Dr Volker Eichhorn, MD, Department of Anesthesia, Dalhousie University, QE II Health Science Centre, 10 West Victoria, 1278 South Park St, Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9, Canada Tel: +1 902 473 2331; fax: +1 902 423 9454; e-mail:

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