April 03 AANA report:Surgical Death Rates Not Affected by Type of Anesthesia Provider

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Found at PA Nurse Anesthesia Assoc:

New Study Shows Surgical Death Rates Not Affected

by Type of Anesthesia Provider

Data reveals no significant differences in surgical mortality rates

when anesthesia is provided by nurse anesthetists

or anesthesiologists working individually or together.

PARK RIDGE, Illinois--Patients are just as safe receiving their anesthesia care from Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) or physician anesthesiologists working individually, or from CRNAs and anesthesiologists working in anesthesia care teams, according to a groundbreaking study published in the April 2003 AANA Journal.

The Institute of Medicine estimates that anesthesia care today is nearly 50 times safer than it was 20 years ago, with one anesthesia-related death per 200,000-300,000 cases. Despite this record of improvement, questions have remained about surgical patient safety related to types of anesthesia providers.

The study, titled "Surgical Mortality and Type of Anesthesia Provider," analyzed the effect of different types of anesthesia providers on the death rates of Medicare patients undergoing surgery. Researchers Michael Pine, MD, Kathleen Holt, PhD, and You-Bei Lou, PhD, studied 404,194 cases that took place from 1995-1997 in 22 states.

According to the study, surgical death rates were essentially the same whether anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists provided the anesthesia individually or worked together in anesthesia care teams. Further, hospitals in which CRNAs were the only anesthesia providers had results similar to hospitals where anesthesiologists were involved in the anesthesia care.

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