The physician anesthesiologist vs. CRNA debate

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Why is this even a debate?

It seems to me that the CRNA-led debate is financial… once you tease through all the fluff.

So here’s some literature I found:

As an anesthesiologist, I work in an MD-only anesthesia group. This is by choice: I prefer doing my own cases and being responsible for my own liabilities. The times I have required an anesthetic, I have requested a physician anesthesiologist. As a resident, I had very good insurance coverage, so I wanted a physician for my surgery. At that time, I was ok with having a resident anesthesiologist paired with an attending anesthesiologist for my case. My second surgery was done at my current hospital, and we only have MD anesthesiologists. Perhaps I’m biased? I know and I understand the path/journey/training it takes to get to become a physician anesthesiologist. I want someone who is well-trained, independently thinks, vigilant, and knowledgeable.

I’m sure there are great CRNAs out there… but when I was a resident… we used to supervise CRNAs in our last year…. and it was scary some of things they would do. Who extubates from a trach R&R on 30% FiO2? Yeah, that particular CRNA told me they had 30 years experience. 30 years experience of doing something wrong doesn’t equate to 30 years of knowledgeable experience. And let’s not forget that CRNAs need a 15 minute morning break, 30 minute lunch break, and 15 minute afternoon break and they go home when their “shift” ends (even if it’s in the middle of a complex case). I take a break when I can… I eat lunch and take a bathroom break when I can…. and I choose to stay and finish complex cases for better continuity of care.

Would you want a nurse practitioner or physician assistant solely performing your surgery without a surgeon? I know I would NOT. I think there’s plenty of room for teamwork in healthcare. This is how to improve hospital efficiency and patient care. My fear is if CRNAs gain independence for purely financial reasons. But then, they will have to carry their own liability, cover their own breaks, take night call and discover that they had it so good in a healthcare team.

Bottom line in my opinion:

  • Physicians endure years of grueling medical education that starts with the why, how, and treatment of disease. This is followed with years of residency training specifically in anesthesia. There’s also further training in the form of a fellowship for specialized fields.
  • Getting into medical school is an extremely competitive process. You take the top 1% of college graduates and high MCAT scores to get into medical school.
  • I will continue to be FOR team-based physician-led Anesthesia care.
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Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)

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Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols: Time to change practice? Can Urol Assoc J. 2011 Oct; 5(5): 342–348.

Dario Bugada, Valentina Bellini, Andrea Fanelli, et al., “Future Perspectives of ERAS: A Narrative Review on the New Applications of an Established Approach,” Surgery Research and Practice, vol. 2016, Article ID 3561249, 6 pages, 2016. doi:10.1155/2016/3561249

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery: If You Are Not Implementing it, Why Not? PRACTICAL GASTROENTEROLOGY • APRIL 2016.

A Systematic Review of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Pathways: How Are We Measuring ‘Recovery?’  Session: Poster Presentation. Program Number: P613

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Sturm L and Cameron AL. Fast-track surgery and enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programs. ASERNIP-S Report No. 74. Adelaide, South Australia: ASERNIP-S, March 2009.

Summary of Enhanced Recovery after Surgery Guideline Recommendations. Canada.

Patients Benefit From Enhanced Recovery Programs: Are Better Prepared for Surgery, Have Less Pain, Studies Show. Oct 2016. American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Enhanced Recovery after Surgery Guideline: Perioperative Pain Management in Patients Having Elective Colorectal Surgery: A Quality Initiative of the Best Practice in General Surgery Part of CAHO’s ARTIC program. April 2013.

Preserved Analgesia With Reduction in Opioids Through the Use of an Acute Pain Protocol in Enhanced Recovery After Surgery for Open Hepatectomy. Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine: July/August 2017 – Volume 42 – Issue 4 – p 451–457.

Regional Anesthesia for surgery and other comparative studies. Sweden.

ERAS: Role of Anesthesiologist. UTSW.

Stanford Anesthesia ERAS pathway website

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Enhanced Recovery after Surgery Versus Perioperative Surgical Home: Is It All in the Name? Anesthesia & Analgesia: May 2014 – Volume 118 – Issue 5 – p 901–902

The Role of Regional Anesthesia in ERAS pathways. Sept 2015. UCSF.

ERAS Pathway Improves Analgesia, Opioid Use and PONV Following Total Mastectomy. Anesthesiology News. May 2016.

Anesthesia Practice and ERAS. Cooper University Hospital. 2017.

ERAS: Anesthesia Tutorial of the Week. Number 204. Nov 2010.

ERAS and Anesthesia. Anesthesia Business Consultants. May 2015.

All about ERAS: Why anesthesiologists need to understand this concept. Becker’s ASC Review. June 2015.

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I’d love to incorporate my findings and use of lidocaine infusions and ketamine infusions on intraoperative and postoperative pain as a multimodal pain management pathway.

Ketamine for intraoperative and postoperative analgesia

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I’m always looking for ways to improve myself. Lately, I’m looking at various clinical elements of my practice and select certain endpoints that will better my practice of medicine.

This time, I’ve focused on cutting back on opioids intraoperatively for pain. I’m looking specifically at ketamine, an old drug with multiple benefits (and some downsides). Not only does ketamine help with intraoperative pain, but it also helps with postoperative pain. I’d like to incorporate some type of ERAS model for all of my patients and surgeries.

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Ketamine: (different doses I’ve seen in the literature below)

• Induction: 0.2-0.5 mg/kg

• Infusion: 0.1mg/kg/hr before incision

◦ 2mcg/kg/hr x 24hr (spine)

◦ 0.1-0.15mg/kg/hr x 24-72hrs (UW)

◦ 2mcg/kg/min

◦ 2-8mcg/kg/min

What I’m using nowadays:

  • Oct 2017: Cardiac open hearts: induction bolus=0.5mg/kg; infusion=0.1mg/kg/hr and stopping when last stitch placed.  Patients seem to require less postoperative narcotics.  Looking at time to extubation to see if this is improved.

 

Ketamine: Current applications in anesthesia, pain, and critical care.  Anesth Essays Res. 2014 Sep-Dec; 8(3): 283–290.

Effect of intraoperative infusion of low-dose ketamine on management of postoperative analgesia.  J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2015 Jul-Dec; 6(2): 378–382.

 

Ketamine for Perioperative Pain Management.  Anesthesiology 2005; 102:211–20. 

CLINICAL GUIDELINE FOR USE OF KETAMINE AS AN ADJUVANT ANALGESIC FOR USE BY ANAESTHETISTS ONLY.  NHS Royal Cornwall Guidelines June 2015.

Ketamine as an Adjunct to Postoperative Pain Management in Opioid Tolerant Patients After Spinal Fusions: A Prospective Randomized Trial.  HSS Journal: Volume 4, Number 1.  

The Use of Intravenous Infusion or Single Dose of Low-Dose Ketamine for Postoperative Analgesia: A Review of the Current Literature.  Pain Medicine Volume 16Issue 2pages 383–403February 2015. 

 

Role of Ketamine in Acute Postoperative Pain Management: A Narrative Review.  BioMed Research International. Volume 2015; Article ID 749837, 10 pages.

 

Ketamine in Pain Management.  CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 19 (2013) 396–402. 

Ketamine for the Management of Acute Pain and Agitation in the ICU: Future, Fiction or Just another Drug-Induced Hallucination? Ann Pharmacol Pharm. 2017; 2(11): 1059. 

Intraoperative ketamine for prevention of postoperative delirium or pain after major surgery in older adults: an international, multicentre, double-blind, randomised clinical trial. Lancet 2017; 390: 267–75.

A comparison between intravenous lidocaine and ketamine on acute and chronic pain after open nephrectomy: A prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Saudi J Anaesth 2017;11:177-84.

 

Another project I’m working on is the effect of lidocaine infusions on intraoperative and postoperative pain.

Walking labor epidurals

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What is an epidural?

What is a “walking” epidural?

Anesthesiology 2 2000, Vol.92, 387. Walking with Labor Epidural Analgesia: The Impact of Bupivacaine Concentration and a Lidocaine–Epinephrine Test Dose.

MJAFI, Vol. 63, No. 1, 2007. Walking Epidural : An Effective Method of Labour Pain Relief. 

Int J Women’s Health, 2009, 1: 139-154. Advances in labor analgesia.

R. Can J Anesth/J Can Anesth (2010) 57: 103. Walking epidurals for labour analgesia: do they benefit anyone?

MOBILIZATION IN LABOUR AFTER REGIONAL ANALGESIA. Euroanesthesia May 2005. Royal Free Hospital. London, UK.

Impact of first-stage ambulation on mode of delivery among women with epidural analgesia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2004; 44: 489–494

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From WebMD

Walking Epidural with Low Dose Bupivacaine Plus Tramadol on Normal Labour in Primipara. Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan 2010, Vol. 20 (5): 295-298.

Clinical Guidelines: Labour Analgesia. Jan 2017. King Edward Memorial Hospital, Australia.

BJOG, Feb 2015. Neuraxial analgesia effects on labor progression: facts, fallacies, uncertainties and the future.

Position in the second stage of labour for women with epidural anaesthesia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Feb 2017.

Ambulatory Epidural Analgesia in Obstetrics: Clinical Effectiveness, Safety, and Guidelines. Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health. Rapid Response Reports. Nov 2010.

Contin Educ Anaesth Crit Care Pain (2004) 4 (4): 114-117. Epidural analgesia in labor.

CSE for Labour Analgesia. 

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My other OB blog links:

OB Anesthesia

Birth plans

Reflections

Fun on the job

Mitraclip and TEE for MR

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European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Imaging (2013) 14, 935–949.  Peri-interventional echo assessment for the MitraClip procedure. 

Everest Clinical Trial results PPT

Open Heart 2014;1:e000056. Two-year outcomes after percutaneous mitral valve repair with the MitraClip system: durability of the procedure and predictors of outcome.

ASE Echo 2016: Percutaneous approaches to MR. UofMichigan PPT.

2015: The role of 3D TEE in the MitraClip procedure – UofColorado PPT

Abbott TTE checklist for MitraClip

EuroValve Congress 2015: MR in the MitraClip Era

2012: Echo in mitral valve intervention. 

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Abbott MitraClip device and delivery system package insert

Neth Heart J (2017) 25:125–130. MitraClip step by step; how to simplify the procedure.

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Transseptal Puncture technique with TEE

JACC Cardiovascular Imaging: July 2012. Role of echo in percutaneous mitral valve interventions. 

MitraClip Cases with TEE: Mayo Clinic.

 

Lidocaine infusions for pain

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From Anesthesiology 2017

BJA Educ, April 2016. Intravenous lidocaine for acute pain: an evidence-based clinical update

Lidocaine Infusion for Perioperative Pain Management – Vanderbilt

Cocharane Library, July 2015. Continuous intravenous perioperative lidocaine infusion for postoperative pain and recovery.

Perioperative Use of Intravenous Lidocaine. Anesthesiology 4 2017, Vol.126, 729-737.

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Open Access Journals, Jan 2017. Lidocaine Infusion: A Promising Therapeutic Approach for Chronic Pain.

Anesthesiology, April 2017. Perioperative use of IV lidocaine.

From Jama Surgery 2017

 

Here’s what I’m currently using:

  • October 2017
    • Lidocaine bolus: 1.5mg/kg on induction
    • Infusion: 2-3mg/kg/hr after induction to end surgery
    • If cardiac on CPB: bolus 1.5mg/kg on induction; Infusion: 4 mg/min x 48 hrs or discharge from ICU; On CPB bolus 4 mg/kg.

I’m also currently working on ERAS protocols for my practice as well as the use of ketamine infusions for intraoperative and postoperative pain and recovery.

Methadone and acute and chronic pain management

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We had a journal club where we discussed this article: Anesthesiology, May 2017; Clinical effectiveness and safety of intraoperative methadone in patients undergoing posterior spinal fusion surgery: a randomized, double-blinded, controlled trial.

  • IV Methadone 0.2 mg/kg vs IV hydromorphone 2mg at surgical closure in 2+ level spinal fusion
  • Decreased postop IV and opioid requirements and pain scores.  Improved patient satisfaction

Questions:

  1. Is there a pain service following these patients postoperatively?
  2. Exclusions: do you include OSA and BMI>45 patients?
  3. Is ETCO2 and PCA enough to combat respiratory depression on the floor?
  4. Are any discharged on the same day after receiving this dose — think total knees and single level lamis?
  5. Will this improve or worsen the opioid epidemic?
  6. Are surgeons on board with tackling pain multimodally for the benefit of the patient?
  7. For pain follow-up, are there psychiatry, homeopathy, palliative care, PT, holistic approaches for the patient?

 

Methadone Dose Conversion Guidelines

 

Literature search:

Sys Rev 2014: Effectiveness of opioid substitution treatments for patients with opioid dependence: a systematic review and multiple treatment protocol.

Am j of Pub Health, Aug 2014. Determinants of Increased Opioid-Related Mortality in the United States and Canada, 1990–2013: A Systematic Review.

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Feb; 77(2): 272–284. Long term outcomes of pharmacological treatments for opioid dependence: does methadone still lead the pack?

PLoS One. 2014; 9(11): e112328. Methadone Induction in Primary Care for Opioid Dependence: A Pragmatic Randomized Trial (ANRS Methaville).

Curr Psychiatry Rev. 2014 May; 10(2): 156–167. Genetics of Opioid Dependence: A Review of the Genetic Contribution to Opioid Dependence. 

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Mar 1; 160: 112–118. Methadone, Buprenorphine and Preferences for Opioid Agonist Treatment: A Qualitative Analysis. 

Croat Med J. 2013 Feb; 54(1): 42–48. Risk factors for fatal outcome in patients with opioid dependence treated with methadone in a family medicine setting in Croatia. 

J Med Toxicol. 2016 Mar; 12(1): 58–63. Pharmacotherapy of Opioid Addiction: “Putting a Real Face on a False Demon”. 

Syst Rev. 2014; 3: 45. Sex differences in outcomes of methadone maintenance treatment for opioid addiction: a systematic review protocol.