Volume 4, No. 3 • Fall 1989

Safety Spotlighted at October ASA Meeting

Robert A. Caplan, M.D.

Patient safety in anesthesia will once again be a major focus at the American Society of Anesthesiologist’s annual meeting in New Orleans, October 14-18. Safety and related subjects have grown into one of the areas attracting the most interest at the meeting. A wide variety of presentations will cover various aspects of patient safety, epidemiology, and education.

Among the refresher course lectures on Saturday, October 14, will be “Anesthetic Disasters and Their Prevention” by Dr. R. Keenan and “Quality Assurance in a Private Practice Setting” by Dr. I Vitez. On Sunday, October 15, Dr. 1. Severinghaus will discuss the uses and limitations of pulse oximetry, followed by a similar consideration of capnography by Dr. M. Good. On Tuesday, October 17, Dr. M. Mulroy will deliver a Clinical Update Lecture entitled, “Preventing Complications of Regional Anesthesia:’

Workshop sessions will feature several related items. A working model of quality assurance will be explored on Monday afternoon. Occupational hazards in anesthesia are addressed in a Tuesday afternoon session. The yearly workshop on educational issues will be held on Wednesday morning.

Nearly 100 presentations will be given during the Patient Safety and Epidemiology Scientific sessions. Simulators and biomechanical issues will be the focus of the Monday morning session. Several investigators will present their experience with a variety of anesthesia simulators that have been adapted for resident training. Preoperative issues will be addressed on Tuesday morning, including a selection of papers on the value of routine laboratory tests. intraoperative complications will be the principal topic of the Tuesday afternoon session.

Wednesday morning will offer two choices: an oral session on postoperative complications and a formal poster session. Hypokalemia caused by pre-induction stress and a possible hormonal link to postoperative nausea are just two of the interesting topics scheduled during this tune period. The final Wednesday afternoon session will focus on educational issues.

This list of presentations at the annual meeting is only a small sample of the many activities related to patient safety. Further details will be available in the meeting materials.

Dr. Caplan of the Virginia Mason Clinic, Seattle, WA is chairman of the Patient Safety, Epidemiology and Education section of the ASA Annual Meeting.