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Patient Safety

Perioperative anesthesia-related complications


Karaaslan, P.; Darcin, K.; Unlukaplan, A.; Tezcan, G.; Kose, E. A.; Oz, H.

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European Journal of Anaesthesiology (EJA): June 2014 - Volume 31 - Issue - p 250
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Background and Goal of Study: Surgical morbidity and anaesthesia related complications are important public health issues worldwide. Perioperative morbidity and major complications are associated with decreased long-term survival. In this retrospective study, we examined the anaesthesia related perioperative complications.

Materials and methods: The medical records of all the patients, who required any type of anaesthesia between December 2012 to October 2013, were reviewed retrospectively. The demographic data, types and durations of the procedures and anaesthesia, status of emergency, anaesthesia-related complications and management of those complications were recorded.

Results and discussion: Between December 2012 and October 2013, 10870 surgical procedures were performed under anaesthesia. Mean age of patients was 32.1±20 and mean duration of procedures was 88.6±87 minutes. Anesthesia types were general anaesthesia (n=9500), central neuroaxial blocks (n=735), sedation (n=608) and peripheral blocks (n=27), respectively. Total rate of perioperative anaesthesia-related complications was 5.5% (hypo/hypertension 1.6%, intubation difficulty 0.6%, allergic reactions 0.4%, pain 1.2%, nausea/vomiting 1.2% and others 0.5%). Geriatric group patients’ complications rate was significantly higher when compared to paediatric and middleage group patients. (p=0.00). Also their intensive care admission rates were significantly higher when compared to middle age group (p=0.01). No significant difference was shown between laporoscopic and open surgeries among complications. The complication and intensive care unit admission rates of emergency and planned surgeries were similar.

Conclusion(s): Some anesthesia-related minor complications cause significant patient discomfort but no long-term pathologies, whereas major complications are related with long-term morbidity and mortality. Recent reports has shown that estimated morbidity rate was between 3-17% (1). In our study minor and major complications’ rate was totally 5.5%, similar to the recent outcomes. Good preoperative patient evaluation and postoperative care often decrease the rate of complications. Human factor and inadequate monitoring are major causes of these complications. In order to decrease failure rates and increase quality, guidelines and standardised procedures should be prepared and used.

© 2014 European Society of Anaesthesiology