A review of patients with pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents during anesthesia reported to the Departmental Quality Assurance Committee.

Preoperative risk factors for pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents during anesthesia are well studied. There is lack of information as to factors or circumstances leading to aspiration.
A retrospective review of cases of pulmonary aspiration reported to the Departmental Quality Assurance (QA) Committee was undertaken.
This study took place at a large tertiary care university hospital based in a metropolitan city.
The study identified all patients reported to the QA Committee as having pulmonary aspiration during January 1991 to December 1994 and July 1996 to December 2000.
No interventions were done.
The medical records of all patients thus identified were reviewed to see if they had pulmonary aspiration according to strict criteria. Presence of preoperative known risk factors, prophylactic measures used against pulmonary aspiration, and perioperative events were noted.
A total of 47 patients were reported to the QA Committee as having pulmonary aspiration during this period. Upon review, 23 patients had pulmonary aspiration (definite aspiration, n = 12; probable aspiration, n = 11) and 24 patients did not meet the criteria for pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents. The incidence of pulmonary aspiration overall was 1 per 8671 anesthetics and 1 per 4385 anesthetics in patients younger than 16 years. If all 47 cases reported to QA Committee are presumed to have had pulmonary aspiration, then the overall incidence of aspiration is 1 in 4243 anesthetics. Eighteen of 23 patients had a preoperative risk factor, but preventive measures against aspiration had been used in only 4 patients. Five patients did not have any apparent preoperative risk factor.
This study confirms that pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents is a rare complication during modern anesthesia. Preoperative risk factor was present in most patients who had pulmonary aspiration. A clear understanding of risk factor/s is needed to prevent further cases of pulmonary aspiration.
AuthorsGundappa Neelakanta, Anand Chikyarappa
JournalJournal of clinical anesthesia (J Clin Anesth) Vol. 18 Issue 2 Pg. 102-7 (Mar 2006) ISSN: 0952-8180 [Print] United States
PMID16563326 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anesthesia (adverse effects)
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethics Committees, Research
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laryngeal Masks
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors

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