A randomised controlled trial examining the effect of acupuncture at the EX-HN3 (Yintang) point on pre-operative anxiety levels in neurosurgical patients
Pre-operative anxiety is an unpleasant state of psychological distress that occurs in up to 87% of patients awaiting neurosurgical procedures. Sedative medication is undesirable in this population due to the need for early postoperative neurological assessment. Acupuncture has previously been shown to reduce pre-operative anxiety, but studies involving neurosurgical patients are lacking. This single-centre, prospective, randomised controlled trial was designed to determine the effect of acupuncture at the EX-HN3 (Yintang point) on pre-operative anxiety levels in neurosurgical patients. The study was prospectively registered before participant recruitment. After measuring baseline anxiety levels, 128 patients were randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio by a web-based computer program to receive either acupuncture at the EX-HN3 (Yintang) point (acupuncture group) or no intervention (control group). Participants were not blinded, but all analyses were performed by a member of the research team who was unaware of the group allocation. The primary outcome measure was anxiety level after 30 min, as measured by the six-item short form of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (possible score range 20–80). Sixty-two patients in each group were subsequently analysed. Median (IQR [range]) anxiety State-Trait Anxiety Inventory score reduced significantly in the acupuncture group (46.7 (36.7–53.3 [23.3–70.0]) to 40.0 (30.0–46.7) [20.0–53.3]), p < 0.001), with no change seen in the control group (41.7 (33.3–53.3 [20.0–76.7]) to 43.3 (36.7–50.0 [20.0–76.7]), p = 0.829). There were no adverse events in either group. Acupuncture at the EX-HN3 point reduces pre-operative anxiety levels in patients awaiting neurosurgery.
A national survey of neurological monitoring practice after obstetric regional anaesthesia in the UK
Neuraxial anaesthesia is widely used in obstetrics and neurological complications are rare. However, when they occur, subsequent investigation and management are time-critical and correlate with the extent of neurological recovery. The Third National Audit Project recommended the implementation of guidelines in obstetric epidural management, including advice on monitoring for early signs of problems and acting upon concerns. However, no national guideline exists for postoperative management in the obstetric population. We conducted a national survey of monitoring after obstetric neuraxial blockade and the management of an abnormally prolonged block. We received responses from 112/189 (59.3%) obstetric anaesthetic leads invited to participate. We determined that post-neuraxial blockade monitoring in the UK is highly variable: only 63/112 (56.3%) respondents’ units had a monitoring policy in place, although most of these did not undertake formal neurological monitoring, and a range of different monitoring methods and schedules were employed. In 12/63 (19%) local policies, the first review of neurology was performed at the standard postoperative visit the following day, and 66/112 (58.9%) units had no protocol in place to address emergency management of abnormally prolonged neuraxial blockade. Where a policy was in place, the initial recommended action and the type of imaging used were variable.
Postoperative pulmonary complications are common, with a reported incidence of 2–40%, and are associated with adverse outcomes that include death, longer hospital stay and reduced long-term survival. Enhanced recovery is now a standard of care for patients undergoing elective major surgery. Despite the high prevalence of pulmonary complications in this population, few elements of enhanced recovery specifically address reducing these complications. In 2013, a prevalence audit confirmed a postoperative pulmonary complication rate of 16/83 (19.3%) in patients undergoing elective major surgery who were admitted to critical care postoperatively. A quality improvement team developed and implemented ERAS+, an innovative model of peri-operative care combining elements of enhanced recovery with specific measures aimed at reducing pulmonary complications. ERAS+ was introduced in June 2014, with full implementation in September 2014. Patients were screened during full ERAS+ implementation and again one year following implementation. Following ERAS+ implementation, postoperative pulmonary complications reduced to 24/228 (10.5%). Sustained improvement was evident one year after implementation, with a pulmonary complication rate of 16/183 (8.7%). Median (IQR [range]) length of hospital stay one year after implementation of ERAS+ also improved from 12 (9–15 [4-101]) to 9 (5.5–10.5 [3-81]) days. The ERAS+ pathway is applicable to patients undergoing elective major surgery and appears effective in reducing postoperative pulmonary complications.
Thromboelastography (TEG) or rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) to monitor haemostatic treatment in bleeding patients: a systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis
Coagulopathy and severe bleeding are associated with high mortality. We evaluated haemostatic treatment guided by the functional viscoelastic haemostatic assays, thromboelastography or rotational thromboelastometry in bleeding patients. We searched for randomised, controlled trials irrespective of publication status, publication date, blinding status, outcomes published or language from date of inception to 5 January 2016 in six bibliographic databases. We included 17 trials (1493 participants), most involving cardiac surgery. Thromboelastography or rotational thromboelastometry seemed to reduce overall mortality compared to any of our comparisons (3.9% vs. 7.4%, RR (95% CI) 0.52 (0.28–0.95); I2 = 0%, 8 trials, 717 participants). However, the quality of evidence is graded as low due to the high risk of bias, heterogeneity, imprecision and low event rate. Thromboelastography or rotational thromboelastometry significantly reduced the proportion of patients transfused with red blood cells (RR (95% CI) 0.86 (0.79–0.94); I2 = 0%, 10 trials, 832 participants), fresh frozen plasma (RR (95% CI) 0.57 (0.33–0.96); I2 = 86%, 10 trials, 832 participants) and platelets (RR (95% CI) 0.73 (0.60–0.88); I2 = 0%, 10 studies, 832 participants). There was no difference in proportion needing surgical re-interventions (RR (95% CI) 0.75 (0.50–1.10); I2 = 0%, 9 trials, 887 participants). Trial sequential analysis of mortality suggests that only 54% of the required information size has been reached so far. Transfusion strategies guided by thromboelastography or rotational thromboelastometry may reduce the need for blood products in patients with bleeding, but the results are mainly based on trials of elective cardiac surgery involving cardiopulmonary bypass, with low-quality evidence.
Pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia with oral tracheal intubation is the technique of choice for trauma patients who cannot maintain their airway or achieve adequate ventilation. It should be carried out as soon as safely possible, and performed to the same standards as in-hospital emergency anaesthesia. It should only be conducted within organisations with comprehensive clinical governance arrangements. Techniques should be straightforward, reproducible, as simple as possible and supported by the use of checklists. Monitoring and equipment should meet in-hospital anaesthesia standards. Practitioners need to be competent in the provision of in-hospital emergency anaesthesia and have supervised pre-hospital experience before carrying out pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia. Training programmes allowing the safe delivery of pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia by non-physicians do not currently exist in the UK. Where pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia skills are not available, oxygenation and ventilation should be maintained with the use of second-generation supraglottic airways in patients without airway reflexes, or basic airway manoeuvres and basic airway adjuncts in patients with intact airway reflexes.
A randomised controlled trial comparing transnasal humidified rapid insufflation ventilatory exchange (THRIVE) pre-oxygenation with facemask pre-oxygenation in patients undergoing rapid sequence induction of anaesthesia
Pre-oxygenation is an essential part of rapid sequence induction of general anaesthesia for emergency surgery, in order to increase the oxygen reservoir in the lungs. We performed a randomised controlled trial of transnasal humidified rapid insufflation ventilatory exchange (THRIVE) pre-oxygenation or facemask pre-oxygenation in patients undergoing emergency surgery. Twenty patients were allocated to each group. No patient developed arterial oxygen saturation < 90% during attempted tracheal intubation. Arterial blood gases were sampled from an arterial catheter immediately after intubation. The mean (SD) PaO2 was 43.7 (15.2) kPa in the THRIVE group vs. 41.9 (16.2) kPa in the facemask group (p = 0.722); PaCO2 was 5.8 (1.1) kPa in the THRIVE group vs. 5.6 (1.0) kPa in the facemask group (p = 0.631); arterial pH was 7.36 (0.05) in the THRIVE group vs. 7.34 (0.06) in the facemask group (p = 0.447). No airway rescue manoeuvres were needed, and there were no differences in the number of laryngoscopy attempts between the groups. In spite of this, patients in the THRIVE group had a significantly longer apnoea time of 248 (71) s compared with 123 (55) s in the facemask group (p < 0.001). Transnasal humidified rapid insufflation ventilatory exchange is a practicable method for pre-oxygenating patients during rapid sequence induction of general anaesthesia for emergency surgery; we found that it maintained an equivalent blood gas profile to facemask pre-oxygenation, in spite of a significantly longer apnoea time.
Evaluation of the accuracy of common weight estimation formulae in a Zambian paediatric surgical population
Limited resources and access to healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa are associated with high rates of malnourished children, although many countries globally are demonstrating increasing childhood obesity. This study evaluated how well current age- or height-based formulae estimate the weight of children undergoing surgery in Zambia. All children under 14 years of age presenting for elective surgery at the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, had both height and weight measured. Their actual weight was compared against estimated weight from various formulae. The Broselow tape outperformed all the age-based formulae, demonstrating the lowest median percentage error of −5.8%, with 46.0% of estimates falling within 10% of the actual measured weight (p < 0.001). Of the 1111 children who were eligible for World Health Organization growth standard appraisal, 88 (8%) met the weight criteria for severe acute malnutrition. Our results are consistent with other studies in finding that the Broselow tape is the best estimator of weight in a lower middle-income country, followed by the original Advanced Paediatric Life Support formula if the Broselow tape is unavailable.
Despite current recommendations on the management of pre-operative anaemia, there is no pragmatic guidance for the diagnosis and management of anaemia and iron deficiency in surgical patients. A number of experienced researchers and clinicians took part in an expert workshop and developed the following consensus statement. After presentation of our own research data and local policies and procedures, appropriate relevant literature was reviewed and discussed. We developed a series of best-practice and evidence-based statements to advise on patient care with respect to anaemia and iron deficiency in the peri-operative period. These statements include: a diagnostic approach for anaemia and iron deficiency in surgical patients; identification of patients appropriate for treatment; and advice on practical management and follow-up. We urge anaesthetists and peri-operative physicians to embrace these recommendations, and hospital administrators to enable implementation of these concepts by allocating adequate resources.
Difficult tracheal tube passage and subglottic airway injury during intubation with the GlideScope® videolaryngoscope: a randomised, controlled comparison of three tracheal tubes
Difficulty during placement of the tracheal tube is a known problem when intubating with the GlideScope®, which may lead to subglottic airway injury. This randomised, controlled clinical trial was designed to compare the resistance to passage of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), reinforced or BlockBuster tracheal tubes during intubation with the GlideScope. Secondary outcomes included the time taken to intubate and assessment of subglottic airway injury. One-hundred and seventy-seven patients were included in the data analysis. There was difficult tracheal tube passage (moderate or severe resistance) in 15 (21.4%) patients using the PVC tube compared with 4 (7.4%) and 1 (1.9%) using the reinforced and BlockBuster tubes, respectively (p = 0.003 for PVC vs. BlockBuster). The median (IQR [range]) time taken to intubate was 35 (27–45 [15–115]) s, 25 (20–27 [15–110]) s and 25 (22–30 [16–90]) s, respectively, (p < 0.001 for PVC vs. reinforced as well as PVC vs. BlockBuster). Subglottic airway injury, assessed using a fibreoptic bronchoscope after extubation, was higher with the PVC tube (p < 0.001) and the reinforced tube (p = 0.012) compared with the BlockBuster tube. We conclude that the BlockBuster tracheal tube is a better choice for orotracheal intubation with the GlideScope than PVC or reinforced tubes.