National trends in nonoperating room anesthesia: procedures, facilities, and patient characteristics : Current Opinion in Anesthesiology

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National trends in nonoperating room anesthesia: procedures, facilities, and patient characteristics

Du, Austin L.; Robbins, Kimberly; Waterman, Ruth S.; Urman, Richard D.; Gabriel, Rodney A.

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Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology 34(4):p 464-469, August 2021. | DOI: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000001022


Purpose of review 

Nonoperating room anesthesia (NORA) continues to increase in popularity and scope. This article reviews current and new trends in NORA, trends in anesthesia management in nonoperating room settings, and the evolving debates surrounding these trends.

Recent findings 

National data suggests that NORA cases will continue to rise relative to operating room (OR) anesthesia and there will continue to be a shift towards performing more interventional procedures outside of the OR. These trends have important implications for the safety of interventional procedures as they become increasingly more complex and patients continue to be older and more frail. In order for anesthesia providers and proceduralists to be prepared for this future, rigorous standards must be set for safe anesthetic care outside of the OR.

Although the overall association between NORA and patient morbidity and mortality remains unclear, focused studies point toward trends specific to each non-OR procedure type. Given increasing patient and procedure complexity, anesthesiology teams may see a larger role in the interventional suite. However, the ideal setting and placement of anesthesia staff for interventional procedures remain controversial. Also, the impact of COVID-19 on the growth and utilization of non-OR anesthesia remains unclear, and it remains to be seen how the pandemic will influence the delivery of NORA procedures in postpandemic settings.


NORA is a rapidly growing field of anesthesia. Continuing discussions of complication rates and mortality in different subspecialty areas will determine the need for anesthesia care and quality improvement efforts in each setting. As new noninvasive procedures are developed, new data will continue to shape debates surrounding anesthesia care outside of the operating room.

Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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