Few Anesthesiologists Monitor Key Heart Signal06/13/11
MONDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- During high-risk surgery,
only about one-third of anesthesiologists measure oxygen flow
throughout their patient's body, even though this heart function
can significantly affect recovery, according to a new survey.
Researchers in Amsterdam surveyed 463 European and American
anesthesiologists and found that 95 percent knew it was critically
important that enough oxygen reach all parts of a patient's body
during high-risk surgery, but only 35 percent were actually
monitoring their patients' cardiac output.
"If cardiac output is not measured there is no way to know whether oxygen is delivered appropriately to the tissues or not," said the study's lead author, Dr. Maxime Cannesson, associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of California, Irvine, in a news release from the European Anaesthesiology Congress.
Roughly 30 million patients around the world undergo high-risk
surgery every year, according to the news release.
The anesthesiologists surveyed said they didn't monitor cardiac
output mainly because the procedure was too invasive or they used
other methods for monitoring the heart's performance.
In response, the study's authors argued current cardiac output
monitoring is less invasive than it used to be, and alternate means
of monitoring cardiac output, such as pulse pressure variations,
are an ineffective substitute.
The study, which was presented Sunday at the European
Anaesthesiology Congress in Amsterdam, noted previous research has
shown that when anesthesiologists measure and set goals for cardiac
output during high-risk surgery, survival rates increase and the
number of complications drop. Surgical patients can also go home
"The idea is very simple: Since oxygen is of major importance to the body when it is experiencing stress, as in the case of high-risk surgery, it seems logical that setting goals for maximizing the delivery of oxygen to the tissues would improve patients' care," said Cannesson. "If the cells and tissues do not receive oxygen during the surgery, they are going to produce toxins, which will eventually worsen the situation and increase postoperative complications such as infection, kidney failure, pneumonia, and so forth," he added.
Based on their findings, the study's authors called for the
creation of national and international guidelines to ensure that
cardiac output monitoring is carried out during and after all
Research presented at medical meetings is considered preliminary
until it is published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists provides more
the role of anesthesiologists in the operating
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