Perianesthetic and Anesthesia-Related Mortality in a Southeastern United States Population: A Longitudinal Review of a Prospectively Collected Quality Assurance Data Base

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Perianesthetic mortality (death occurring within 48 hours of an anesthetic) continues to vary widely depending on the study population examined. The authors study in a private practice physician group that covers multiple anesthetizing locations in the Southeastern United States. This group has in place a robust quality assurance (QA) database to follow all patients undergoing anesthesia. With this study, we estimate the incidence of anesthesia-related and perianesthetic mortality in this QA database.

METHODS:

Following institutional review board approval, data from 2011 to 2016 were obtained from the QA database of a large, community-based anesthesiology group practice. The physician practice covers 233 anesthetizing locations across 20 facilities in 2 US states. All detected cases of perianesthetic death were extracted from the database and compared to the patients’ electronic medical record. These cases were further examined by a committee of 3 anesthesiologists to determine whether the death was anesthesia related (a perioperative death solely attributable to either the anesthesia provider or anesthetic technique), anesthetic contributory (a perioperative death in which anesthesia role could not be entirely excluded), or not due to anesthesia.

RESULTS:

A total of 785,467 anesthesia procedures were examined from the study period. A total of 592 cases of perianesthetic deaths were detected, giving an overall death rate of 75.37 in 100,000 cases (95% CI, 69.5–81.7). Mortality judged to be anesthesia related was found in 4 cases, giving a mortality rate of 0.509 in 100,000 (95% CI, 0.198–1.31). Mortality judged to be anesthesia contributory were found in 18 cases, giving a mortality of 2.29 in 100,000 patients (95% CI, 1.45–3.7). A total of 570 cases were judged to be nonanesthesia related, giving an incidence of 72.6 per 100,000 anesthetics (95% CI, 69.3–75.7).

CONCLUSIONS:

In a large, comprehensive database representing the full range of anesthesia practices and locations in the Southeastern United States, the rate of perianesthestic death was 0.509 in 100,000 (95% CI, 0.198–1.31). Future in-depth analysis of the epidemiology of perianesthetic deaths will be reported in later studies.

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