APSF Awards First Research Grants

Arthur S. Keats, M.D.

The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation announced the first awards of its Research Grants Program begun in 1986. The purpose of the program is to support clinical research directed toward enhancing patient safety during anesthesia. Twenty-six applications were received and all available grant funds were awarded to four grants whose applications were ranked highest by the Committee on Scientific Evaluation. The grants are:

1. David M. Gaba, M.D@Stanford University School of Medicine-Evaluation of Anesthesiologist Problem Solving Using Realistic Simulations

2. Marsha M. Cohen, M.D.-University of Manitoba-Defining Outcomes Associated With Anesthesia

3. Dwayne R. Westenshow, Ph.D.-University of Utah School of Medicine-A safer Anesthesia Machine Through Model-Based Alarms

4. 1. lance Lichtor, M.D@University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine-The Risk of Surgery and Anesthesia: A Retrospective Analysis

Dr. Gaba will use a mannequin simulator in an operating room environment to mimic life threatening situations which may occur during anesthesia. He will then observe and record the decision making process of several groups of anesthesiologists as they diagnose and treat the simulated situation. The study promises to identify elements of problem solving which distinguish experienced from novice anesthesiologists and may be able to quantify the effects of modifiers such as fatigue on problem solving ability.

Based on experiences with one institution’s system for surveillance of anesthetic morbidity and mortality, Dr. Cohen will attempt to refine the system now in place by reducing subjectivity, improving data collections, and defining outcomes. The major objective is to develop a system simple and cost effective enough to be applicable for quality assurance purposes within hospitals and for multiinstitutional studies of anesthesia outcomes.

Dr. Westenshow will study the problems created by multiple monitors and alarms which act independently in terms of sensitivity and alarm limits. By computer modeling and simulation, states of operation of multiple sensors which may complicate patient care wig be identified. By assigning alarm priorities, a schematic display of alarms will be developed to identify clinical problems correctly and convey appropriate priorities,

Dr. Lichtor will examine data collected since 1964 by the National Center for Health Statistics as a possible source of information on incidence of death related to anesthesia in the United States. These data are coded under a variety of diagnostic codes which need to be explored for their applicability to anesthetic related mortality.

The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation awards grants annually on the basis of competing applications. An announcement of the 1987 Grant Program appears elsewhere in this issue

Dr. Keats is Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Anesthesia, Toms Heart Institute, and Chairman, APSF Committee on Scientific Evaluation.