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Experts Agree That One Case Is Too Many; Tackle Tough Issue of Anesthesia Awareness
Date:11/30/2007

- Stryker Instruments Launches OR-Live Information Resource Portal to

Advance Public Understanding of Rare but Traumatic Event -

NEW YORK, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- A dynamic panel of researchers, anesthesia professionals and a patient/advocate assembled this week at a forum for healthcare journalists to tackle the complex issue of anesthesia awareness, the rare but devastating condition that is of heightened public concern due to today's release of the movie "AWAKE." The forum, "A Wake-Up Call About Anesthesia Awareness: Striking a Balance in Public Perceptions," was convened to address the range of related challenges, controversies and concerns in order to forge a positive path ahead to reduce anesthesia awareness and improve patient safety.

"While AWAKE may send shockwaves through the systems of those about to have surgery, and those who have suffered this rare event, it also serves as a wake-up call to health professionals to do all we possibly can to reduce the occurrence of anesthesia awareness," said Orin F. Guidry, MD, Professor, Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina.

ONE CASE IS TOO MANY

Anesthesia awareness occurs when a patient under general anesthesia stays or becomes conscious during surgery but can't move or talk because paralytics are in effect. While the incidence of anesthesia awareness is rare, it can have devastating effects. The incidence, based on several studies, is reported to be 0.1%, which translates to about 21,000 of the 21 million people in the United States who receive anesthesia each year. [1]

Dr. Guidry emphasized that that dispute over the number of cases should not distract from the shared sense of urgency to address the issue. "Let's get out of this box of how often it occurs. Really, one case is too many," he said. "As anesthesiologists, we are not going to stop until we can get that risk down to zero."

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