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'Surgery, Anesthesia & Your Brain,' Not the Cache of 'Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll'

One dead person every day from anesthesia over medication should be a 'wake up' call, says Dr. Barry Friedberg.

CORONA DEL MAR, Calif., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Anesthesia over medication kills one person every day.

So reported the April issue of 'Anesthesiology,' the official journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, in the first mortality study of the 21st century.

These deaths occurred because anesthesiologists are measuring the wrong thing.

"Your brain is the target for anesthesia. It's critical your brain response be measured with a brain activity monitor. Most anesthesiologists are not doing this," says Dr. Friedberg, a leading expert in the field for the past 12 years.

F.D.A. approved and available since 1996, brain activity monitors are proven to work and avoid over medication, including death and varying degrees of impairment.

Thirty million Americans every year, including 7 million baby boomers, undergo surgery and anesthesia. Older patients are even more vulnerable to the risks of over medication.

"Your brain's safety in anesthesia depends on direct brain measurement. Unless your brain response to anesthesia gets measured, you will be over medicated," he said.


BIS (the prototype brain activity monitor) was declared the standard of care for anesthesia by Friedberg in 2007. Although BIS is most commonly used, others include PSI, Entropy, Narcotrend, Cerebral State and SNAP.

Disclaimer: Dr. Friedberg has no financial involvement with any maker of brain activity monitors.

How can you know if a brain monitor will be used? Ask your surgeon or facility administrator.

If 'no' is the answer, tell them you will find a hospital or surgicenter that does brain monitoring with anesthesia. Taking a firm stand will get attention and, ultimately, more facilities will use brain monitoring with anesthesia.

"Public awareness of the serious risks of anesthesia without brain monitoring is the first step. Next is securing brain monitoring with anesthesia for all patients. As avoidable deaths and impairment is drastically reduced, the mission of the Goldilocks Anesthesia Foundation will be fulfilled," concludes Friedberg.

Anesthesia medicates the brain. Measure it.

Be your own patient safety advocate.

Ask for a brain monitor with anesthesia.

Barry L. Friedberg, M.D.

Champion of Anesthesia Patient Safety (CHAPS)

For more information:

SOURCE Dr. Barry L. Friedberg
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