Anesthesiology in the News

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January 1, 2014 Volume 78, Number 1
Anesthesiology in the News

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): An Anesthesia Challenge

ASA member Jeffrey S. Jacobs, M.D. authored a guest column on in August about the patient safety challenge to treat patients with OSA who undergo anesthesia. Dr. Jacobs stressed the importance of having a physician anesthesiologist diagnose OSA and then develop a tailored anesthetic plan to prevent complications during the perioperative period.


Genetic Testing to Help Doctors Treat Pain ran an article by ASA member Anita Gupta, M.D. this August where she discussed research showing how genetic factors account for a substantial proportion of a patient’s response to drugs. By undergoing genetic testing, physicians would be able to anticipate how a patient may respond to a drug rather than relying on a trial-and-error process.


Continuous Peripheral Nerve Blocks in the Outpatient Setting

In the September issue of Outpatient Surgery News, ASA members Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H., and Ryan Nagy, M.D. discussed the benefits of continuousperipheral nerve blocks (CPNB), which are being used more often in outpatient settings. While the results have generally been positive, according to Drs. Adams and Nagy, there are risks to consider, including infection, the potential for respiratory distress, local anesthetic systemic toxicity and falls.


Physician-led Anesthesia Care Highlighted on Media Teleconference

ASA President Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D. led a September 9 media teleconference to discuss impending changes to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Nursing Handbook with reporters from Anesthesiology News, MedPage Today, Medscape, Modern Healthcare and NBC News.


VA Issue Airs on Laura Ingraham Show

John Dombrowski, M.D., former chair of the ASA Committee on Communications, was interviewed by radio host Laura Ingraham regarding the impending changes to the VHA Nursing Handbook in September.


Baby Boomers and Beyond: 10 Questions to Ask About Anesthesia

Patients of every age – from baby boomers to the “Greatest Generation” – undergo anesthesia safely for surgery and diagnostic procedures, ASA member Karen Sibert, M.D. noted on in September. Dr. Sibert created the “10 Questions” to address certain considerations older patients undergoing anesthesia need to keep in mind.


Machine vs. Doctor

ASA members Richard Cano, M.D., Stanford Plavin, M.D., Steven Shafer, M.D., and Rebecca Twersky, M.D., were quoted in a September Wall Street Journal article about the SEDASYS system. An ASA letter to the editor by Drs. John Zerwas and Jane C. K. Fitch in response to the article was published in October in the Wall Street Journal. The letter explained that “no machine can replace the skills of a physician. Emergencies can and do occur during colonoscopies or any surgical procedure, even with the healthiest of patients. Patients are at risk unless there is a physician present, properly trained in rescue from unintended deep sedation and prepared and capable of addressing deterioration in the patient’s life functions.”


Propofol Shortage Dangerous to Patient Safety

ASA worked closely with the Associated Press in September to provide information about propofol and how a shortage of the medication could negatively impact patient care and outcomes. The resulting story was picked up by more than two dozen news outlets, including the Denver Post, the Kansas City Star and


Additionally, former ASA President Jerry Cohen, M.D. was quoted in a Scientific American article in October discussing the possible effects of the propofol shortage on patient safety.


Improving Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

NBC “Nightly News” featured ASA member Roger White, M.D., who pioneered a program in 1990 in which defibrillators were installed in every Rochester police car and first-responder vehicle. Rochester now has the highest survival rate (58 percent) in the country for people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital.


ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2013 in the News

A total of 346 print, broadcast and online articles or stories reaching an audience of more than 58 million were aired, published or posted by media outlets across the country reporting on the activities of the ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2013 annual meeting.


Highlights include:

San Francisco Chronicle: “Anesthesiologists Focus on Patients’ Care.” ASA members and native Californians Jeffrey Swisher, M.D., Anthony Debs, M.D., James Healzer, M.D., and John Donovan M.D. were quoted extensively in an article highlighting patient safety progress in the specialty.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley: “New Device Could Bring Relief to Chronic Headache Sufferers.” ASA member Billy K. Huh, M.D. and one of his patients were interviewed regarding information presented at the meeting on peripheral nerve stimulation as a promising long-term treatment for chronic headache sufferers. and “Women in Labor May Be Able to Ditch Ice Chips for Protein Shakes, Study Shows.” ASA member and study author Manuel C. Vallejo, M.D. discussed his research, suggesting that women can safely consume a protein shake while in labor.

Fox News “Happening Now” and“Test Can Help Detect Early Lung, Prostate Cancer.” ASA member Daniel Sessler, M.D. discussed his study that found an increased level of serum-free fatty acids and their metabolites in the bloodstream can help indicate the presence of lung cancer in the body.

ABC News Radio and “Preliminary Study Finds Link Between Heart Surgery and Mental Decline.” ASA member Karsten Bartels, M.D. noted findings from his study presented at the annual meeting that patients with a certain gene (APOE4) were more likely than those without the gene to experience long-term memory loss, attention problems and difficulty understanding spoken or written words five years after the heart surgery.


Other studies presented at ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2013 received media attention:

• “Chronic pain treatment cools hot flashes in menopausal women - reduces frequency by half, eases depression,” presented by ASA member David Walega, M.D., was picked up in Endocrine Today and

• “Fibromyalgia sufferers get significant pain relief from IV lidocaine,” presented by ASA member Billy K. Huh M.D. was reported in

• “Kids having tonsils removed get better pain relief with IV acetaminophen,” presented by ASA member Rajeev Subramanyam, M.D. was covered in Physician’s and

• “New drug regimen reduces post-op nausea and vomiting by 80 percent in bariatric surgery patients,” presented by ASA member Ashish C. Sinha, M.D. was picked up in Physician’s and Outpatient Surgery Magazine.

• “Postoperative delirium more likely in elderly patients who have diabetes, undergo longer surgeries or respond poorly to stress,” presented by ASA member Stacie G. Deiner, M.D. was reported on in and

• “Persistent pain following cardiac surgery can be predicted and reduced,” presented by ASA member Sibtain Anwar, M.B., M.A., FRCA was covered in Cardiology Today.

• “Soldiers with certain gene variations more likely to develop chronic pain after amputation,” presented by ASA member Andrew Shaw M.D. was picked up in and Rehab Management Magazine.

• “Decontaminating the sanitizer dispenser, giving health care workers their own hand gel reduces O.R. contamination significantly,” presented by ASA members Devon Cole, M.D. and Colby Parks, M.D. was featured in Outpatient Surgery Magazine and the Advisory Board.

• “On-time operating room starts can be improved, increasing patient/staff satisfaction and cost savings,” presented by ASA members Sophia van Hoff, M.D. and Vikram Tiwari, Ph.D. was reported on in and Physician’s