- Max Rohrbaugh, Michael L Kentor, Steven L Orebaugh, and Brian Williams.
- Department of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA.
- Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2013 Jan 1;38(1):28-33.
BackgroundSeveral case reports have raised serious concerns about the safety of shoulder surgery in the beach-chair position, related to global cerebral hypoperfusion. We summarize our experiences with 15,014 cases of shoulder arthroscopy over an 11-year period. Our primary aim was to evaluate the incidence of intraoperative or immediate postoperative neurologic events and secondarily to relate other perioperative complications.MethodsWe searched our online deidentified departmental quality improvement and patient safety database for adverse outcomes associated with arthroscopic shoulder surgery performed in the beach-chair position for the 11-year period between April 2001 and November 2011, as well as our hospital-system database and a statewide database. This was compared with the total number of such cases, available from our department billing database.ResultsThe total rate of adverse events was 0.37%. Neurologic abnormalities suggestive of acute cerebral ischemia or hemorrhage did not occur in the immediate perioperative period. One new neurologic deficit was reported, secondary to ischemic stroke, which occurred 24 hours after the surgery. The most frequent complications detected were unplanned return to care (0.067%), local anesthetic systemic toxicity (0.053%), and airway compromise requiring unplanned intubation (0.033%). Complications were infrequent and did not vary in incidence over the course of the study.ConclusionsThis retrospective study suggests that intraoperative or immediate postoperative stroke is rare when surgery is conducted in beach-chair position in conjunction with regional anesthesia, propofol sedation, and spontaneous respiration via natural airway.
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