Subspecialty News: What Is SOAP?

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March 1, 2014 Volume 78, Number 3
Subspecialty News: What Is SOAP? Barbara M. Scavone, M.D., President
Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP)

SOAP: [sohp] noun

1. A substance used for washing and cleansing purposes, usually made by treating a fat with an alkali, as sodium or potassium hydroxide;

2. Any metallic salt of an acid derived from a fat;

3. An acronym for the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology; the largest organization of obstetric anesthesiologists in North America; a subspecialty society of the ASA, whose mission it is to improve pregnancy-related outcomes of women and neonates through support and promotion of research, education and excellence in clinical care related to obstetric anesthesiology.


SOAP and SOAP members work hard on behalf of pregnant women and anyone who provides anesthesia care to them. For instance, SOAP is a member of the National Partnership for Maternal Safety along with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The primary work products of the partnership are “Patient Safety Bundles” – small, straightforward sets of evidence-based practices that, when performed collectively and reliably, have been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes. You – the care provider – will benefit when the Patient Safety Bundles for obstetric hemorrhage, severe hypertensive disease and thromboembolic disease are soon published.


In addition, SOAP led a multidisciplinary group that produced a consensus statement on the management of cardiopulmonary arrest in a parturient. Look for it in a future issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia. SOAP and SMFM are drafting another consensus statement on best practices concerning management of amniotic fluid embolism. These consensus statements will provide guidance to the practitioner who encounters these clinical situations.


Regarding continuing education, SOAP sponsors two meetings every year. Our Sol Shnider OB Anesthesia Meeting is scheduled to take place in beautiful San Francisco in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, March 6-9, 2014. The “Sol” follows a refresher course lecture format over several days, and clinicians rate its educational value highly. The 2014 SOAP Annual Meeting will occur May 14-18, 2014, in Toronto. There will be plenty of lectures, pro-con debates, abstract presentations and clinical panels – something for everyone, and plenty of social activities, too. The opening night reception will take place in the Hockey Hall of Fame! You may register for either – or both – of these meetings at International outreach is also an educational priority. In 2013, we sponsored a Spanish-language symposium in Puerto Rico that attracted more than 100 Spanish-speaking attendees from Central America and South America. Planning is under way for a similar conference that will take place in Colombia. We are trying to positively influence maternal mortality rates in our hemisphere!


We are proud to collaborate with Kybele, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to improving childbirth conditions worldwide through medical education. An abstract was presented at our 2013 Annual Meeting in San Juan that demonstrated long-term decreases in maternal mortality after a Kybele intervention in the developing world!


SOAP also recognizes a research mission and awards a Gertie Marx Research Grant every year. Additionally, a SOAP-led task force is developing an OB-specific component to the Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI), to which many ASA member practices contribute. These efforts will speed reporting of meaningful quality measures in obstetric anesthesia.


ASA’s Committee on Obstetric Anesthesia works closely with SOAP. As was reported in a recent ASA NEWSLETTER, that committee reviewed the ASA’s Statement on Pain Relief During Labor, the Guidelines for Neuraxial Anesthesia in Obstetrics, the Optimal Goals for Anesthesia Care in Obstetrics, and the Statement on the Role of Registered Nurses in the Management of Continuous Regional Analgesia. The goal is to produce documents that can be used by ASA members in all obstetric anesthesia practice settings.


SOAP does all of that and more: It provides educational opportunities not only through our meetings but also through our website and newsletter. SOAP membership comes with a free subscription to the International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia and a discounted rate to the Obstetric Anesthesia Digest and allows access to research grants and mentorship. Most importantly, SOAP provides an opportunity to meet people who share an interest in obstetric anesthesiology. In my case, SOAP has provided me with the good fortune to know a great group of people – warm, caring, fun, funny, smart and supportive.


SOAP and its members are working hard to make a reality of the World Health Organization’s Millennium Development Goal #5: To improve maternal health and, specifically, to decrease maternal mortality throughout the world. I am proud to be SOAP President and invite you to learn more about us at

Barbara M. Scavone, M.D. is Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Section Chief, Obstetric Anesthesia, University of Chicago.