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Der Anaesthesist [journal]
- [Legal position of non-medical personnel in hospitals.] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 15.
There are currently many assistant professions in the German healthcare system which have either a more nursing or a more medical character. All these assistant professions have in common that as yet they do not require uniform training criteria but members of these professions undertake some aspects of medical activities. At the center lies the difficulty of more political than legal discussion on whether members of these assistant professions and also nursing personnel are allowed to or should undertake medical activities. This article illuminates the legal status quo.
- Bupivacaine crystal deposits after long-term epidural infusion. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 15.
The case of a 45-year-old male patient (body weight 52 kg, height 1.61 m) with a locally invasive gastric carcinoma infiltrating into the retroperitoneal space is reported. Because of severe cancer pain a tunnelled thoracic epidural catheter (EC) was placed at thoracic spinal level 7/8 and a local anesthetic (LA) mixture of bupivacaine 0.25 % and morphine 0.005 % was infused continuously at 6 ml h(-1). To optimize pain therapy the concentration was doubled (bupivacaine 0.5 %, morphine 0.01 %) 3 months later but the infusion rate was reduced to 3 ml h(-1) thus the total daily dose did not change. The patient died 6 months after initiation of the epidural analgesia from the underlying disease. The total amount of bupivacaine infused was 69 g and of morphine 1.37 g. The patient never reported any neurological complications. The autopsy revealed large white crystalline deposits in the thoracic epidural space which were identified as bupivacaine base by infrared spectrometry. Morphine could not be detected. A histological examination showed unreactive fatty tissue necrosis within the crystalline deposits but nerve tissue could not be identified. It is concluded that the bupivacaine crystalline deposits arose due to precipitation but the clinical significance with regard to sensory level and neuraxial tissue toxicity is unknown.
- [Quality of postoperative pain therapy : Evaluation of an established anesthesiology acute pain service.] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 15.
BACKGROUND:Despite well-designed concepts of perioperative pain management, recent studies have revealed that a large number of patients still suffer from unacceptable pain after surgery. The purpose of this prospective evaluation was to critically analyze postoperative pain treatment provided by a routinely established, DIN certified acute pain service (APS) at the University Hospital Großhadern in Munich.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:A total of 1,000 consecutive patients received one of the following analgesic procedures: continuous epidural analgesia (EA, n = 401), continuous and patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA, n = 305), intravenous patient-controlled analgesia with opioids (PCA, n = 169) or continuous peripheral nerve block (CPNB, n = 125). For EA and PCEA, ropivacaine 0.2 % and sufentanil 0.24 µg/ml were administered while peripheral regional analgesia was performed with infusion of ropivacaine 0.2 % only. Patients with PCEA were allowed a 3 mg bolus once per hour on demand. Standardized intravenous PCA was performed with piritramide 2.5 mg/ml, a bolus of 2.5 mg, a lock-out time of 15 min, a maximum of 25 mg/4 h and no background infusion. During the daily visits the APS assessed pain intensity at rest and during movement on a numerical rating scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (maximum pain), acceptance of pain, satisfaction with the analgesic procedure, demand of additional non-opioid analgesics, the need for optimization including bolus applications and changes of the infusion rate or retraction of the epidural catheter. The duration of the procedures, side effects and complications were documented. The catheter insertion sites were inspected daily for redness and tenderness on palpation.
RESULTS:In general, epidural and peripheral regional analgesic techniques were superior in terms of postoperative analgesia to intravenous opioid PCA and were associated with fewer side effects, such as sedation, nausea, vomiting, obstipation and sensorimotor deficits. A subgroup analysis revealed that in major upper abdominal surgery, EA provided significantly better analgesia at rest and during movement than PCA. In lower abdominal surgery PCEA induced significantly better analgesia than both PCA and EA, especially during movement. Patient satisfaction was generally high and was best with PCEA (95 %) followed by CPNB (94 %), EA (91 %) and PCA (88 %). On the first postoperative day analgesic procedures had to be optimized (e.g. by bolus administration, retraction of catheters or changes to standardized PCA) in 23 % of EA patients, 10 % of PCEA patients, 6 % of PCA patients and 12 % of CPNB patients. Major complications, such as neuraxial hematoma, infections or respiratory depression were not observed.
CONCLUSIONS:As described in many prospective studies, this evaluation revealed that for postoperative pain control, regional anesthesia is superior to intravenous patient-controlled analgesia with strong opioids in terms of analgesia and side effects. In the setting of a well-organized acute pain service with frequent education and training of all members involved, postoperative pain management is safe and effective. However, regular re-evaluation of the defined and certified procedures is necessary.
- [Anesthesiological acute pain therapy in Germany : Telephone-based survey.] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 15.
INTRODUCTION:The last survey of anesthesiological acute pain therapy in Germany was conducted in 1999. Since then new organisational as well as therapeutic aspects have developed. Amongst others the operation and procedures key (OPS) figure 8-919 complex acute pain therapy has been introduced in the German medical billing system, with the restriction that it cannot currently be redeemed. There is an ongoing debate on the role of epidural analgesia in acute pain therapy and new oral medication concepts have been established. Therefore a survey of the present state of acute pain therapy in Germany was conducted.
METHODS:Based on a list of all 1,356 hospitals in Germany a randomized list of 412 hospitals was generated. Out of these 412 hospitals those with anesthesiology departments (378 hospitals) were contacted via telephone and asked to participate in the survey. Out of the 378 hospitals 285 (75.4 %) agreed to take part. The survey consisted of a questionnaire containing closed and open questions regarding organisational and therapeutic aspects of acute pain therapy. The ethics committee of the University of Regensburg rated the survey as not being subject to approval due to the lack of personal patient data.
RESULTS:Of the participating hospitals 183 (64.2 %) had an acute pain service (APS) and of these 107 (58.5 %) met the quality criteria of the OPS 8-919. This figure however, was only consistently documented by 40 (37 %) APSs. Epidural analgesia (EA) was offered by 275 (96.5 %) hospitals and patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (PCA) by 255 (89.5 %). Likewise, 255 (89.5 %) hospitals used controlled-released opioids in acute pain therapy. Concerning EA, the medications most used were sufentanil as an opioid and ropivacaine as a local anesthetic in255 (92.7 %) of the hospitals with EA for sufentanil and 253 (92 %] for ropivacaine. An EA was offered on regular wards in 240 (87.3 %) hospitals. Uncertainty existed about concrete limits for coagulation values before removal of an epidural catheter. The opioid most utilized in PCA was piritramide with some hospitals using morphine or oxycodone (92.2 %, 9.4 % and 9.4 %, respectively). Other opioids, such as hydromorphone and tramadol were rarely used and remifentanil was not used at all. Oral medication was widely used with metamizole being the non-opioid analgesic and oxycodone/naloxone the controlled-release opioid being prescribed the most. New antiepileptic drugs, such as gabapentin or pregabalin were rarely employed in acute pain therapy.
CONCLUSIONS:Since 1999 the number of hospitals that have implemented an APS has risen from 36.1 % to 64.2 %. The lack of consistent documentation of the OPS 8-919 will probably not increase the likelihood that it will become redeemable in the near future. Certain therapy methods, such as EA and PCA were still well established with oral therapy gaining in significance. The uncertainty regarding limits for coagulation values before removal of an epidural catheter could perhaps be reduced by a statement from the German Society of Anesthesia and Intensive Care.
- [Assessment of prehospital injury severity in children : Challenge for emergency physicians.] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 10.
BACKGROUND:The prognosis of polytraumatized patients is dependent on the quality of emergency room (ER) management and a smooth transition from prehospital to ER therapy is essential. The accurate assessment of prehospital injury severity by emergency physicians influences prehospital therapy and level of care of the destination hospital. It also helps to ensure that medical resources are immediately available. Overestimation of injury severity wastes resources and underestimation puts patients at risk. The assessment of prehospital injury severity in adults is unreliable. In children, the assessment of injury severity seems to be even more challenging.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:For the comparison of the prehospital documented injury severity and injury severity diagnosed after the ER phase, the injury severity score (ISS) and trauma-ISS (TRISS) were calculated. The TRISS consists of the ISS and the revised trauma score (RTS). All diagnoses of the prehospital and admission charts were collected and an injury severity was allocated according to the abbreviated injury scale (AIS). The concordance of the injury severity within different tolerances was evaluated. A tolerance of the prehospital documented injury severity of more than ± 25 % to the injury severity calculated after ER diagnostics was considered as overestimation or underestimation. The concordance of the prehospital documented diagnosed injury severity and the severity diagnosed after the ER phase of different body regions according to the AIS was evaluated. The documented mechanism of injury in the emergency physician protocol was judged as being detailed, satisfactory or poor.
RESULTS:The results showed that 69 % of the children reached the ER during on-call hours. Furthermore 92 % of the children reached the ER during the daytime between 08.00 h and 20.00 h. The transportation of 25 % of the children was on a private basis. The mean ER-ISS was 10 points (range 1-57). In 42 % of cases the ISS of the emergency physician protocol within a tolerance of ± 25 % was concordant with the ER-ISS. According to this criterion in 38 % of cases an overestimation of the assessment of the injury severity of the emergency physician was found and in 20 % an underestimation. Within a tolerance of ± 75 % based on the ER-ISS, the ISS of the emergency physician protocol was concordant in more than half of the cases (52 %). Using the TRISS with a tolerance of ± 25 % a concordance was observed in 46 % of the cases. Within a tolerance of ± 50 % based on the ER-ISS the ISS calculated after ER diagnostics was concordant in 50 % of the cases. A high concordance of the prehospital and hospital injury severity was found in the region of the face (75 %). The concordance in the body regions of the head, thorax, extremities and pelvis and soft tissue ranged between 43 % and 50 % of the cases. Of the children 38 % suffered a traffic accident, 52 % a fall of less than 3 m and 10 % of more than 3 m. The mechanism of injury was documented in detail in 70 % and satisfactory in 8 %.
CONCLUSIONS:The assessment of prehospital injury severity in children is unreliable. In order to evaluate injury severity the use of anatomical trauma scores alone is insufficient. The adequate documentation of the mechanism of injury implies that the mechanism of injury seems to play a relevant role in the assessment of prehospital injury severity. The unreliable assessment of the injury severity, the arrival in the ER in on-call hours and the private transport to the hospital is a challenge to the ER leader in trauma life support for children.
- [Patients at the end of life in the intensive care unit : Cultural aspects of accompaniment.] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 10.
The accompaniment of people in the face of death offers insights into dimensions which are mostly not seen in ordinary life. These insights also exist in intensive care in German hospitals and are highly relevant in medical decision making. End-of-life decisions in particular often determine medical, cultural and spiritual aspects concerning medical treatment and therapeutic targets and if necessary new therapy targets. The following article especially illuminates cultural aspects and their characteristics in patients at the end of life in the intensive care unit.
- [Transversus abdominis plane block : Anesthesia procedure for abdominal wall surgery only.] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 10.
The transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block is a well known method for postoperative pain control after abdominal surgery. From an anatomical and physiological point of view it should be possible to perform abdominal wall surgery, e.g. wound debridement, using a TAP block only. To the authors knowledge no studies have been published with respect to the use of TAP only. This article presents a case report demonstrating that it is possible to perform three consecutive operation procedures within 7 days using only a bilateral TAP catheter technique. The TAP block without any co-medication provides high patient comfort and should be recognized as a good alternative for abdominal wall surgery.
- [Anesthesiological considerations for patients with trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 10.
The most common chromosomal abnormality is trisomy 21 which is also known as Down syndrome and occurs in approximately 1 in 800 births. The majority of the resulting disabling conditions cannot be cured and affect people of all ages, ethnicity and economic levels. Life expectancy has increased with advances in medical care in the same way as in the rest of the population. One of the major tasks for health care professionals is to help these differently abled children and their families function in the most effective way possible as they learn to accept the limitations imposed by a persistent disability. Signs and symptoms of trisomy 21 are very variable based on the trias of mental retardation to a variable degree, hand anomalies and cardiac complications. Other abnormalities are atlantoaxial instability (AAI), tracheal stenosis, a predisposition to respiratory complications, chronic hypothyroidism, microgenia and macroglossia. These conditions are relevant to anesthetic procedures and patients with Down syndrome and their families have specific expectations and attitudes towards medical and anesthetic treatment.
- [On preoperative risk evaluation of adult patients before elective non-cardiac surgery : Results of a survey on clinical practice in the Federal State of Hessen.] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 10.
BACKGROUND:The German Societies of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Internal Medicine and Surgery have recently published for the first time joint recommendations for the evaluation of adult patients prior to elective non-cardiac surgery. In these recommendations indications for preoperative diagnostic procedures were critically revised and updated. It was unclear to what extent these recommendations were known among German anesthesiologists, how the recommendations were perceived and to what extent they were put into practice. The indications of five common diagnostic procedures in the context of the preoperative evaluation were also unknown.
METHODS:Three months after publication of the recommendations, all anesthesiologists employed at hospitals in the state of Hessen were requested to take part in an online survey (OS). In the first part of the OS participants were asked about familiarity with the recommendations, opinions concerning the utility of the recommendations and to what extent they were implemented. In the second part of the OS participants were questioned in general and in the context of two common case scenarios about indications for electrocardiograms (ECG), chest radiographs (chest x-ray), echocardiograms, spirometry and extended cardiac diagnostics, such as stress ECG. In addition, participants of the OS were requested to take part in an interview survey (IS) addressing the same topics. The purpose of the IS was to detect any bias caused by the anonymous character of the OS which could lead to an overestimated self-assessment. Answers of the IS were not compared to the results of the corresponding answers given online by the same anesthesiologist but only analyzed together with the other results of the IS for comparison with the results of the OS.
RESULTS:Of the contacted anesthesiologists 396 (29 %) took part in the OS of which 100 took part in the IS. According to the OS 30 % were familiar and 34 % were partially familiar with the recommendations, 20 % just knew that recommendations had been published and 16 % did not even know about the publication. The corresponding results of the IS were 16 %, 36 %, 28 % and 20 %, respectively. Of the participants 90 % (OS) and 89 % (IS) considered the recommendations at least to be predominantly reasonable and useful and 66 % (OS) of the participants tried to implement or at least to partially implement the recommendations (IS only 33 %). Concerning the indications for the different diagnostic procedures, the results of the OS showed that hospital guidelines (44 %) and patient age (32 %) were the most frequent indications for a preoperative ECG. Hospital guidelines (40 %) and own judgement (39 %) were the most common indications for a preoperative chest x-ray and patient age still accounted for 18 % of the indications. In contrast, echocardiography (67 %), spirometry (61 %) and extended cardiac diagnostics (70 %) were primarily indicated based on own judgement. However, reasons given in this context were frequently (77 %) not in agreement with the recommendations. Comparing the results of the OS to those of the IS with respect to the indications of the different diagnostic procedures for the common case scenarios showed a varying degree of consistency with the recommendations. In both cases responses to the IS concerning the indications for the different diagnostic procedures were mostly in accordance with the recommendations compared to answers obtained in the OS. Indications for the chest x-ray showed the worst degree of consistency with the recommendations.
CONCLUSIONS:Corresponding to the high significance of local standards for the decision of indicating preoperative diagnostic procedures, the development of local standards that are in agreement with the recommendations seems to be a reasonable way to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations.
- [Peripartum cardiomyopathy : Diagnostic and therapeutic challenge.] [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anaesthesist 2013 May 8.