There is ever greater interest in mitigating medical errors, particularly through cognitive aids and checklist-system long-used in the aviation industry.
Jelacic and team instituted a computerised pre-induction checklist, using an observational before-and-after study design across 1,570 cases. This is the first study of a computerised anaesthesia checklist in a real clinical environment.
They found an absolute risk reduction of almost 4% of failure-to-perform critical pre-induction steps, along with reduction in non-routine events and several examples of pre-induction mistake identification through checklist use.
Although the researchers claim the results “strongly argue for the routine use of a pre-induction anaesthesia checklist” this overstates the case a little. This study, like many similar, struggles with confounder effects on anaesthesia vigilance that may explain some of the results, particularly as arising from observational, non-randomised, non-blinded research.
The challenge for cognitive aid research is that commonly it must use surrogate markers (workflow step failure; behavioural deviations; efficiency; time spent on task etc.) rather than the safety outcomes that actually matter to patients: death and injury.
There will continue to be tension between those pro-checklist and those against. The irony is that both camps share a similar rationale for their position: the advocates for routine checklists point to the safety benefits of reducing cognitive load, whereas those opposing argue that enforced use is anti-individual and itself adds additional task and cognitive burden for clinicians.summary
Postoperative pulmonary complications are associated with an increase in mortality, morbidity and healthcare utilisation. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommends risk assessment for postoperative respiratory complications in patients undergoing surgery. In this hospital registry study of adult patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery between 2005 and 2017 at two independent healthcare networks, a prediction instrument for early postoperative tracheal re-intubation was developed and externally validated. ⋯ In addition to five pre-operative predictors identified in the Score for Prediction Of Postoperative Respiratory Complications, the final model included seven additional intra-operative predictors: early post-tracheal intubation desaturation; prolonged duration of surgery; high fraction of inspired oxygen; high vasopressor dose; blood transfusion; the absence of volatile anaesthetic use; and the absence of lung-protective ventilation. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the new score was significantly greater than that of the original Score for Prediction Of Postoperative Respiratory Complications (0.84 [95%CI 0.82-0.85] vs. 0.76 [95%CI 0.75-0.78], respectively; p < 0.001). This may allow clinicians to develop and implement strategies to decrease the risk of early postoperative tracheal re-intubation.
Emergency front-of-neck access to achieve a percutaneous airway can be a life-saving intervention, but there is debate about the preferred technique. This prospective, observational study was designed to compare the two most common emergency surgical airway techniques in a wet lab simulation using an ovine model. Forty-three doctors participated. ⋯ There was one failure for the cannula approach and 15 for the scalpel-bougie technique (OR 0.07 (95%CI 0.00-0.43); p <0.001). Median (IQR [range]) time to oxygenation, if successful, was 65 (57-78 [28-160]) s for the cannula approach and 90 (74-115 [40-265]) s for the scalpel-bougie technique (p=0.005). In this ovine model, emergency front-of-neck access using a cannula had a lower chance of failure and (when successful) shorter time to first oxygen delivery compared with a scalpel-bougie technique.
We examined the potential for voice sounds to predict a difficult airway as compared with prediction by the modified Mallampati test. A total of 453 patients scheduled for elective surgery under general anaesthesia with tracheal intubation were studied. Five phonemes were recorded and their formants analysed. ⋯ Among five regression models evaluated, the model achieving better performance to predict difficult laryngoscopy, after a variable selection criteria (stepwise, multivariate) and included a modified Mallampati classification (OR 2.920; 95%CI 1.992-4.279; p < 0.001), first formant of /i/(iF1) (OR 1.003; 95%CI 1.002-1.04; p < 0.001), and second formant of /i/(iF2) (OR 0.998; 95%CI 0.997-0.998; p < 0.001). The receiver operating curve for a regression model that included both formants and Mallampati showed an area under curve of 0.918, higher than formants alone (area under curve 0.761) and modified Mallampati alone (area under curve 0.874). Voice presented a significant association with difficult laryngoscopy during general anaesthesia showing a 76.1% probability of correctly classifying a randomly selected patient.