Anesthesiologists comment on opioid-related pain management and research
In September, Healio.com quoted Kevin Zacharoff, MD, in an article on how forced tapering may harm patients with chronic pain who are taking opioids. At PAINWeek 2022, he discussed how we live in an environment of increased opioid pharmacovigilance, which can cause adverse effects for the patient, including pain, stigma, and ethical dilemmas. “Patients are dependent on certain medications to function and contribute to society,” he said. “We need to think about the ethical considerations involved in tapering someone.”
Later in the month, Medscape quoted David Dickerson, MD, chair of ASA’s Committee on Pain Medicine, regarding research on a new method to track fentanyl’s effect on patients. “The development of a fentanyl signature on an electroencephalogram (EEG) creates an interesting avenue for sedation monitoring in patients under anesthesia in the operating room or ICU and could help us better titrate fentanyl in these settings to the optimal dose,” he said.
Specialty’s perioperative brain health expertise featured in the media
In September, Medscape quoted Odmara Barreto Chang, MD, PhD, about a new screening method to help identify older people at increased risk for delirium after surgery. This method involves having patients take a brief test on a computer tablet to measure certain skills, the ability to generate words and how well they match and recall objects. She noted that more accurate assessment of a patient’s cognitive impairment prior to surgery could change practice patterns. “If you have any heart conditions before you go into surgery, we send you to the cardiologist; we do the same thing for your other organs, but we don’t do a brain assessment,” she said.
Former ASA president profiled for commitment to public health, leadership
A September profile of ASA Past President Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, FACHE, FASA, in The Bend Magazine recognized her as a medical hero, brilliant leader, and a problem solver who helmed ASA during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and is driven to finding solutions to improve public health. “I think, with the right systems in place, we can get all people the care they need and deserve,” she said.
Reporters turn to anesthesiologists for insights on important health topics
In September, the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) quoted ASA President Michael W. Champeau, MD, FAAP, FASA, regarding the importance of anesthesiologists’ education and training in an article about a Florida surgeon who failed to ensure that a surgical office complied with a state regulation requiring a qualified anesthesia provider. To become an anesthesiologist, people typically need to complete at least 12 years of education, including four years of medical school, Dr. Champeau said.
Dr. Champeau also was featured in a September KTVT-DAL (CBS) (Dallas) story on a federal investigation into I.V. bags tainted with bupivacaine at a Dallas surgery center. Dr. Champeau explained the proper use of I.V. bags and said, “No medication should ever be added to the I.V. bag until it has been designated for use for a particular patient.”
The October issue of Outpatient Surgery Magazine featured an article by Richard Beers, MD, chair of ASA’s Committee on Occupational Health, discussing how monkeypox is spread and noting the support by ASA and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations protecting health care providers from exposure to the virus. “The COVID-19 pandemic helped prepare health care providers for future infectious threats spread by airborne means,” he wrote.
Also in October, KZTV-TV (CBS) (Corpus Christi, Texas) featured ASA Past President Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, FACHE, FASA, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Driscoll Health System, discussing that the number of children visiting her hospital’s emergency room doubled in three months, driven by an earlier influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season. “We usually have patients in the room within an hour or they’re in and out of there within a couple of hours, but that’s not the case right now,” she said.
At the end of October, The Wall Street Journal quoted Dr. Champeau in an article about the dangers of ketamine tablets or lozenges being prescribed online to treat depression at home without proper medical supervision. The article noted that ketamine increases heart rate and blood pressure and raises the risk of stroke or heart attack at the higher doses some telehealth patients have been prescribed. “Giving any drug like that has the potential to cause general anesthesia at home in a completely unmonitored environment,” he said.
ASA members write on medical missions, PSH, patient safety, early career-needs, on KevinMD.com
During Pain Awareness Month in September, Donna-Ann Thomas, MD, FASA, shared her experiences providing care on medical mission trips to three African countries, where she treated many patients in pain. “While technology, equipment, and certain medications may not be accessible, you can still make a significant impact in the life of someone suffering from chronic pain, such as with basic anatomically guided injections and over-the-counter pain relievers we often take for granted, such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs,” she wrote.
In October, ASA Immediate Past President Randall M. Clark, MD, FASA, and Robert Shakar, MD, FASA, chair of ASA’s Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) Steering Committee, wrote about the proven value of the PSH – a physician-led, patient-centered coordinated model of care – which has been implemented at more than 100 hospitals and health care organizations across the country. “By bringing the PSH model – along with information on how to customize it – to health care teams everywhere, it will help to assist health care organizations with achieving better care, decreasing costs, and improving outcomes in every community in the country,” they wrote.
In a November guest column, Karolina Brook, MD, Aalok Agarwala, MD, FASA, and Emily Methangkool, MD, wrote about the importance of becoming a high-reliability organization that promotes raising concerns and “speaking up” for patient safety. “In contrast to the ‘blame and shame’ ideology, where it is felt that the individual who committed the error must simply have been deviant, systems-based practice recognizes that humans are imperfect and work in imperfect settings,” they wrote.
Later in November, Muhammad Farooq Anwar, MD, underscored the importance of meeting early-career physicians’ unique needs to fuel tomorrow’s health care leaders, expressing gratitude for ASA’s new Early-Career Membership Program. “Belonging to a specialty society that’s investing in its future leaders gives me the needed support – professionally and personally – and makes me feel heard and welcome,” he wrote.
ASA advocates for changes to NSA, Medicare fee cut
In October, a HealthLeaders article highlighted how ASA rallied with the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American College of Radiology in support of a second Texas Medical Association lawsuit regarding the No Surprises Act (NSA). ASA and the other groups filed a joint amicus brief with the Texas court and agreed with the premise of the suit that the Surprise Billing Final Rule independent dispute resolution process still fails to comply with No Surprises Act statutory text.
In November, a Becker’s article about how physicians voiced concerns over a Medicare physician fee cut of nearly 4.5% quoted ASA President Michael W. Champeau, MD, FAAP, FASA. “Congress should not allow politics to come in the way of protecting seniors from losing access to critical surgical care,” he said.
Later in November, Becker’s ASC Review covered ASA’s proposed changes to the implementation of the No Surprises Act, which were outlined in a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. Additionally, an ASA mat release (a feature article appearing in newspapers or online to complement staff-written material) that explained how the flawed implementation of the No Surprises Act could ultimately reduce patient access to care garnered 971 online placements, including the Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, SF Gate, and San Francisco Chronicle, reaching more than 121 million people. The coverage featured a quote from Dr. Champeau: “The implementation of the No Surprises Act has empowered insurance companies not to negotiate, and their stance is ‘take it or leave it.’ But I am confident we can fix this problem to ensure fair pay and continued access to care.”
ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2022 research featured far and wide
Coverage on research presented at ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2022 has appeared in more than 2,200 media outlets, reaching an estimated audience of more than 3.6 billion.
TIME Magazine, MedPage Today, HealthDay, and Healthline all covered a study that found green eyeglasses may help reduce the need for opioids in fibromyalgia patients. TIME Magazine quoted the study’s lead author, Padma Gulur, MD, FASA, who noted, “What struck us the most was that at the end of the study, the patients were so pleased with the results, they didn’t want to return the green glasses.”
NBC News Radio, Bloomberg News, the Daily Mail (U.K.), Everyday Health, HealthDay, Healthline, and MedPage Today all reported on new research showing cannabis use may increase pain after surgery. Bloomberg News quoted the study’s lead author, Elyad Ekrami, MD, who noted, “The association between cannabis use, pain scores, and opioid consumption has been reported before in smaller studies, but they’ve had conflicting results. Our study shows that adults who use cannabis are having more – not less – postoperative pain.”
Additional media highlights included research showing reduced noise in the operating room improves children’s behavior after surgery, which was featured on HealthDay and picked up by U.S. News & World Report, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, Nebraska). HealthDay also covered a study that showed opioid prescribing after surgery for seniors in Canada hasn’t declined, but doses are lower, and a study that showed an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program enabled same-day hip and knee replacement surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First for Women, Everyday Health, Healthline, MedPage Today, The Times (U.K.), and Woman’s World all reported on a study on how cholesterol-lowering statins may reduce COVID-19 severity. Additionally, Medscape detailed a study that found a troubling link between a surge in critical head and neck injuries among youth in West Virginia and a spike in positive tests for opioids and benzodiazepines among children who are seen at emergency departments.
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