Characteristics of Emergency Pages Using a Computer-Based Anesthesiology Paging System in Children and Adults Undergoing Procedures at a Tertiary Care Medical Center

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In our large academic supervisory practice, attending anesthesiologists concomitantly care for multiple patients. To manage communications within the procedural environment, we use a proprietary electronic computer-based anesthesiology visual paging system. This system can send an emergency page that instantly alerts the attending anesthesiologist and other available personnel that immediate help is needed. We analyzed the characteristics of intraoperative emergency pages in children and adults.


We identified all emergency page activations between January 1, 2005 and July 31, 2010 in our main operating rooms. Electronic medical records were reviewed for rates and characteristics of pages such as primary etiology, performed interventions, and outcomes.


During the study period, 258,135 anesthetics were performed (n = 32,103 children, younger than 18 years) and 370 emergency pages (n = 309 adults, n = 61 children) were recorded (1.4 per 1000 cases; 95% confidence interval, 1.3–1.6). Infants had the highest rates (9.4 per 1000; 95% confidence interval, 5.7–14.4) of emergency page activations (P < 0.001 compared with each other age group). In adults, the most frequent causes were hemodynamic (55%), and in children respiratory and airway (60.7%) events.


Emergency pages were rare in patients older than 2 years. Infants were more likely than children 1 to 2 years of age to have emergency page activation, despite both groups being cared for by pediatric fellowship trained anesthesiologists.

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