Researchers from Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants in Charlotte, N.C., have gone to great lengths, combing through 97,815 case files in a 16-year-old database containing 150,000 patients, in an effort to understand causes of perianesthetic death in children.
Presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting in October 2017, the study revealed death rates and causes of perianesthetic mortality in children. The mortality rate is highest in infants (P<0.0001)—nearly half of the total 60 deaths in the data set—and is associated with premature birth complications, such as necrotizing enterocolitis (57.7%). The researchers found that the rate of pediatric perianesthetic mortality was slightly lower than in the general population, at 61.3 per 100,000 patients. The researchers also found unexpected trends, as in a group of older children who originally had cardiac surgery at a young age, dying 10 to 15 years later.
Findings like these are the reason that the researchers sifted through such a large collection of data, said Richard J. Pollard, MD, now an assistant professor in anesthesiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston. They could lead to providing better outcomes for patients in the future. “[We’re] digging the data, trying to figure out what happened to these patients,” Dr. Pollard said. “And is there anything we can learn from an anesthetic point of view that can make life safer?”
—Meaghan Lee Callaghan and Michael DePeau-Wilson