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Important monitoring of heart performance is omitted in two-thirds of high-risk surgical operations
Date:6/12/2011

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Only 35% of anaesthesiologists are carrying out a simple procedure during high-risk surgery that can make a significant impact on how well patients recover from their operations, according to new research presented today (Sunday 12 June) at the European Anaesthesiology Congress in Amsterdam.

A survey of 463 randomly selected European and US anaesthesiologists found that although more than 95% of them knew that it was of major importance that enough oxygen reached all parts of the body during an operation and that this was determined by how well the heart was pumping blood around the body, 65% of them were failing to monitor the amount of blood the heart was pumping a procedure known as cardiac output monitoring.

As a result of their findings, the authors of the study, led by Dr Maxime Cannesson, an Associate Professor of Anaesthesiology at the University of California, Irvine (USA), are calling for action at national and international level to ensure that cardiac output monitoring is carried out for all high-risk surgical operations.

The numbers of operations affected are significant. High-risk surgery represents about 10-14% of all the 240 million surgeries performed each year worldwide, meaning that about 30 million patients in the world are undergoing high-risk surgery every year. Examples of high-risk surgery include operations on the liver, pancreas, aorta (the largest artery in the body), most cancer surgery, and orthopaedic surgery, for instance on the spine or for hip fractures.

Dr Cannesson said: "Several studies have shown that when anaesthesiologists measure and then set goals for cardiac output during high-risk surgery, their patients will have fewer postoperative complications, a shorter stay in the hospital after the surgery, and fewer of them will die in the postoperative period. The idea is very simple: since oxygen is of major importance to the body when it is experiencing stress
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
ESA (European Society of Anaesthesiology)
Source:Eurekalert

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