I chose not to include biased studies where sick patients were not compared as well as morbidity and mortality.
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.
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.
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)
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.