The Independence debate in Anesthesia

The independence debate in anesthesia. #anesthesiologist #physician @nmsahq @asahq Physician-led anesthesia care team provides patient safety, which is the #1 priority in patient care. #va #patientsafety #healthcare

The physician vs. crna debate has reared its ugly head…. yet again.  There have been multiple bills presented to suggest crna independence WITHOUT physician anesthesiologist oversight.  In 2017, proposals were made to the Veteran’s Affairs to replace physicians with crnas.  Here’s what they found when they looked at the VA databases to conclude that nurses will continue with physician oversight in anesthesia:

Current laws in 45 states and the District of Columbia all require physician involvement for anesthesia care and the VA in 2017 decided to maintain its physician-led, team-based model of care. The VA’s Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) could not discern “whether more complex surgeries can be safely managed by CRNAs, particularly in small or isolated VA hospitals where preoperative and postoperative health system factors may be less than optimal.”

Here’s my evidence and reasons why I believe the care of the patient is best when it is physician-led.  After all, would you want a nurse or assistant doing your actual surgery?  The ultimate goal is patient safety.

Physician anesthesiologists have up to 14 years of post-graduate medical education and residency training, which includes 12,000-16,000 hours of clinical training, nearly seven times more training than nurse anesthetists.

From 2010:

From 2011:

From 2017:

 

Yet, here’s another debate that shows there’s no difference in an anesthesia care team setting with an anesthesia assistant and a crna:

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 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.  The board certification for becoming certified in anesthesiology is quite complex and difficult in both the written and oral board exams.
  • I will continue to be FOR team-based physician-led anesthesia care.
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Paid Maternity Leave

I had just written a response to a partner’s email regarding outpatient coverage and the focus of work-life balance.  I think it’s a great initiative that she is tackling while brainstorming what could help the group with flexibility as well as some normalcy while raising a family.
This made me think of changes to antiquated practices we currently have in our work environment… primarily, paid maternity leave as well as paid sick leave.  Many of my male colleagues can continue to work and can take as little or much leave as they would like for family bonding or vacation time to spend with their newborns.  This is their option.  Unfortunately, the women physicians in our group are not afforded that same luxury.  There is a 6 week medical leave of absence with a vaginal delivery or an 8 week leave of absence with a C/S as proposed by the OBs.  During this time, we are not paid.  State disability is a joke bc it’s not even enough to cover a mortgage payment.  Look at other large companies, there’s often paid leave or sick leave available to the employees.  Therefore, women who choose to have kids while working as a physician in our group are penalized, especially if they are the breadwinner.
Not only that, even while off on medical leave, we are required to pay into the trust and pay ridiculously high premiums to cover the wide age gap of partners in our practice.  I would be happy to look elsewhere for my medical coverage, but I simply cannot come off our medical insurance plan.
Therefore, I propose there be a fund set aside to create a pool or trust for persons creating families (just as we do for our more distinguished and elderly physician population with our health insurance plans and exorbitant premiums) who will have families and work in our group.
Here are some examples in the news of what is and has been in the pipelines….
Here are examples of companies getting it right:
Please consider updating some or all of the policies for paid maternity leave.  I am open to your thoughts and considerations.

 

Poll on Maternity Leave

What it’s like to be a female anesthesiologist…

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

From my 2nd pregnancy….

Got my glucola test today (11/26) for my 24 week test. This time I stayed NPO. My diet has NOT been good this pregnancy. Everything sweet has been so appealing to me. Sweets and carbs have been my jam. But, I have no real cravings like I did with the first pregnancy.

So I got the results back from the 1 hour glucola test and my BS is 155, and it should be less than 130. Ugh! I read this girl’s blog entry and totally related.

Now, I work on diet, portion control, snacks, and exercise.


Week 25: Dec 4 – 10, 2018

I have been clean eating for the last two weeks since I failed my 1st glucola testing. Today, I did an experiment of doing random blood sugars.

7:00a — fasting since 8pm the night before.
BS = 84
8:58a — done one hour after my last bite of breakfast (1/2 cup greek yogurt, strawberries, paleo granola)
BS = 97
9:22am — last bite of homemade beef and bean paleo chili (1 cup). 1 tbsp unsweetened, unsalted organic crunchy peanut butter.
12:33p — last bite of work soup (1/2 chicken and sausage jambalaya, 1/2 lentil and chickpea, salt load thru the roof).
13:43p — BS 93
16:45p — last bite of grilled chicken, brown rice, veggie bowl from FlameBroiler. 1/2 an orange.
17:36p — BS 120
19:15 — granny smith apple; 1 tbsp natural, organic crunchy peanut butter. 1 piece of dark chocolate.

More info I found on glucola testing and GDM:


On Jan 11, 2018, I took my 3 hour glucola test. It’s as awful as the first time but now there’s a 100g sugary drink (yuck!) and 3 hours of hanging out at the lab. Took my 3 hour glucola test and passed the first two blood draws (fasting, and 1 hr after 100g drink)… then got the call that my glucose was slightly elevated on the last two draws (2 hours after the drink and 3 hours after the drink). I’m disappointed that now I have to go and meet with a diabetic educator. Pretty much since I found out that I had a positive 1 hour glucola test, I have been on a lower carb, no-sweets diet. That’s been about a month and a half. I totally related to what this gal said about her diagnosis of GDM.

So, I did more research on what I actually need to do now before meeting with the diabetic educator.

Northwestern Medicine GDM Meal Planning

Yale Health Sample Menu Plan for Women with GDM

Kaiser Permanente; 2000 calorie meal plan for GDM

Sample meal plans from a nutritionist

Intermountain Health Care: GDM Meal Plan

Diabetic food list

optimal-foods-for-gestational-diabetes

GD-Snack-Meal-Ideas
From https://bluepineappleblog.com/blog/gestational-diabetes-diet-tips/

Wed, Feb 27, 2019

Fasting BS @ 6:45a = 82

37 weeks, 1 day

Took a fasting BS bc the perinatologist said if there was only one fingerstick I could do, that would be the most important one regarding prognosis and future DM.


Fri, Mar 1, 2019

2 hour post meal @ 8:50a = 88

37 weeks, 3 days

Had a protein shake, hard boiled egg, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 orange, and 1 small can diet Dr. Pepper.

What it’s like to be a female anesthesiologist…

To promote the series #asawoman started by @nataliecrawfordmd (from Instagram)
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Throughout medical school, residency, fellowship, even now in private practice… patients have often judged a book by its cover. They’ve thought I was their nurse, volunteer, high school student or college student shadowing, almost everything but the person who will lead their anesthetic care. While this can seem deflating given all the extra work and studies one puts in to become a physician, I’ve changed my mindset re: my patients’ initial thoughts on me.
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First of all, thank goodness they think I’m super young! I have my mom’s genes and beautiful skin to thank!! At this rate, I hope I start to look 30 when I hit 50. When patients ask my age, I happily oblige them with a bold 39. Then I see a look of relief over their faces. I, of course, ask them how old they think I am….and I get the range of: just graduated college to mid-20s. Awesome!! I use it as a bonding moment and icebreaker with my patients. Sometimes with the right patient, I joke with them that it’s my first day… it usually entertains a good laugh. Then, I go into an overly technical schpeel on risks/benefits of anesthesia, expectations, PACU recovery. This typically solidifies to the patient that it’s not my first day on the job. Additionally, many patients tell me in the PACU that they feel better than their prior experience or better than their expectation and are quite grateful for my care.
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There are a lot of men in my anesthesia group. Sometimes, after I introduce myself to the patient, they’re shocked that a woman anesthesiologist would be delivering their care. In this day and age, I’m shocked that a lot of patients still assume that a male physician will oversee their care. When caring for female patients with this mentality, I purposefully address a gentle and vigilant anesthetic plan. With my male patients with this mentality, often times they’re happy to talk about the “happy juice” cocktail they’ll get and some much deserved relaxation knowing that I will carry a watchful eye over their surgery and anesthetic.
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Lastly, since becoming pregnant with my first and currently pregnant with my second… I feel I have a better understanding of the worried/concerned parents who are at the bedside to be with their child about to enter surgery.  Oftentimes, the parents think I’m young and want to know where I trained and when I graduated.  I offer them this info, and continue speaking to the patient (their child) about their concerns or questions.  I make sure the parents know everything that will go on re: anesthetic plan, how the patient will feel in recovery and risks/benefits of anesthesia options.  I TAKE MY TIME with the parents and the patient.  While my age and gender often work against me (even though it shouldn’t!), I make sure the controllable worries by the parents are addressed.  I speak to the parents after the surgery.  They go into the recovery room and see their child (older than 13 at our hospital) comfortable and recovering.  While I can’t change my appearance (nor would I want to…), I can change perceptions of women physicians.  We are every bit as capable of everything our male colleagues can do.  In addition, we tackle pregnancy, motherhood, businesses, and everything in between.  #asawoman As A Woman, I feel more empowered now than ever before.

Women in Anesthesiology

American Medical Women’s Association

American College of Physicians: Women in Medicine

Bias, Bravery, and Burnout: The Journey of Women in Medicine

Thoracic surgery: PVB, SAPB, TEpi, ESP block, Precedex

Paravertebral Catheter Use for Postoperative Pain Control in Patients After Lung Transplant Surgery: A Prospective Observational Study.  JCVA February 2017. Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 142–146.

To place the PV catheter at the T4-5 level, the authors used an in-plane transverse technique under ultrasound guidance, with the probe in a transverse orientation. After identifying the anatomic landmarks on ultrasound, a 17-gauge Tuohy needle was advanced in a lateral to medial direction, until the tip was beneath the transverse process. For all recipients in the study, the authors further confirmed correct PV catheter placement with real-time infusion of a local anesthetic (1-3 mL of 1.5% lidocaine with epinephrine 1:200,000); they were able to visualize on ultrasound the spread from the tip of the catheter.

Once it was confirmed that the tip remained in position, the PV catheter was secured with skin glue (Dermabond®, Ethicon, Inc.; Somerville, NJ). Next, at the PV catheter insertion site, the authors placed an occlusive dressing on a chlorhexidine-impregnated sponge (BioPatch®, Johnson & Johnson Wound Management, a division of Ethicon, Inc.; Somerville, NJ). The PV catheter was connected to an elastomeric pump (ON-Q®, Halyard Health, Alpharetta, GA), an infusion of 0.2% ropivacaine was started at a rate of 0.2 to 0.25 mL/kg/h; the maximum dose was 7 mL/h per side in bilateral lung transplant recipients and 14 mL/h in unilateral single-lung transplant recipients.

pic3
From NYSORA

Ultrasound-Guided Serratus Anterior Plane Block Versus Thoracic Epidural Analgesia for Thoracotomy Pain. JCVA February 2017. Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 152–158.

Under sterile conditions and while patients still were in the lateral position with the diseased side up, a linear ultrasound transducer (10-12 MHz) was placed in a sagittal plane over the midclavicular region of the thoracic cage. Then the ribs were counted down until the fifth rib was identified in the midaxillary line (Fig 1).18 The following muscles were identified overlying the fifth rib: the latissimus dorsi (superficial and posterior), teres major (superior), and serratus muscles (deep and inferior). The needle (a 22-gauge, 50-mm Touhy needle) was introduced in plane with respect to the ultrasound probe, targeting the plane superficial to the serratus anterior muscle (Fig 2). Under continuous ultrasound guidance, 30 mL of 0.25% levobupivacaine was injected, and then a catheter was threaded. A continuous infusion of 5 mL/hour of 0.125% levobupivacaine then was started through the catheter.

Figure-17-Nagdev-2017-ACEP-Now-Ultrasound-Guided-Serratus-Anterior-Plane-Block-Can-Help-Avoid-Opioid-Use-for-Patients-with-Rib-Fractures-
From http://painandpsa.org/rnb/

Erector Spinae Plane Block


Effect of Continuous Paravertebral Dexmedetomidine Administration on Intraoperative Anesthetic Drug Requirement and Post-Thoracotomy Pain Syndrome After Thoracotomy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JCVA February 2017. Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 159–165.

Adjuvants to prolong regional anesthesia

HIT and heparin alternatives

Took care of a patient who came to OR for a redo-sternotomy and triple valve replacement on ECMO.

Scroll down to see how we managed the patient’s possible HIT.  The patient had a low score on her 4Ts assessment.  Therefore, we opted to move forward before the functional assay came back with results as the patient was in dire need of triple valve replacement.

 


HIT Basics

Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia and Cardiac Surgery: A Comprehensive Review. J Blood Disord Transfus 2011, S2.

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From https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/heparin-induced-thrombocytopenia-and-cardiac-surgery-a-comprehensive-review-2155-9864-S2-003.pdf

The goals of treatment for HIT are threefold: Interrupt the pathological immune response, inhibit the uncontrolled generation of thrombin, and minimize the complications.

Cessation of heparin alone does not sufficiently reduce the risk of thrombosis. The next step in management targets the uncontrolled generation of thrombin with the use of direct thrombin inhibitors (DTIs).  Argatroban is preferred in patients with renal insufficiency, whereas lepirudin is the drug of choice for patients with liver disease.  Bivalirudin is another hirudin analog that differs from lepirudin in that it is hemodialyzable and primarily undergoes enzymatic elimination. Its half-life is the shortest, 20-25 minutes, making bivalirudin the safest option since there are no reversal agents available.

All three agents can be monitored using the activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) to levels of 1.5 to 2.0 above baseline. Once the platelet count has increased to a minimum of 150,000/µL bridging therapy to warfarin is essential for the safe transition from DTIs.

Iloprost is a prostacyclin analogue that reversibly inhibits platelet aggregation.  Plasma exchange was successful in reducing anti-P4/heparin antibodies and allowed for the restoration of a normal platelet count, essentially reversing the disease.

A-suggested-approach-to-diagnosis-and-initial-management-of-patients-with-suspected-HIT
From https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-suggested-approach-to-diagnosis-and-initial-management-of-patients-with-suspected-HIT_fig1_236255402

HIT/HITT and alternative anticoagulation: current concepts. BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia, Volume 90, Issue 5, 1 May 2003, Pages 676–685.

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and cardiac surgery. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol, 2010; 23:74–79.

Perioperative care in cardiac anesthesia and surgery.  Chapter 19: HIT and heparin alternatives.  

Handbook of patient care in cardiac surgery. Chapter 2: Operative management.


Prostacyclins in Cardiac Surgery: Coming of Age.  Seminars in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia 22(3):108925321774929 · December 2017.

Intraoperative infusion of epoprostenol sodium for patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia undergoing cardiac surgery. The Japanese Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 348–350.

Cardiac Surgery With Cardiopulmonary Bypass in Patients With Type II Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia. Ann Thorac Surg 2001;71:678–83.

HIT and urgent open heart surgery: a sticky situation. Grand Rounds, Hematology. UW 2015. 


Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 8.45.41 PM
From https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/percutaneous-coronary-intervention-in-patients-with-heparin-inducedthrombocytopenia-case-report-and-review-of-literature-2329-6607-1000202.php?aid=82752

Bivalirudin for Cardiopulmonary Bypass in the Setting of Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia and Combined Heart and Kidney Transplantation— Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenges. Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia 31 (2017) 354–364.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 9.02.08 PM
From https://www.jcvaonline.com/article/S1053-0770(16)30273-7/fulltext

Cardiac Bypass Surgery in the Setting of Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia.  BIDMC guidelines.

Anticoagulation during Cardiopulmonary Bypass in Patients with Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia Type II and Renal Impairment Using Heparin and the Platelet Glycoprotein IIb–IIIa Antagonist Tirofiban. Anesthesiology 2 2001, Vol.94, 245-251. 

Management of anticoagulation in patients with subacute heparin-induced thrombocytopenia scheduled for heart transplantation. BLOOD, 15 NOVEMBER 2008 VOLUME 112, NUMBER 10; 4024-4027.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 8.56.04 PM
From http://www.bloodjournal.org/content/bloodjournal/112/10/4024.full.pdf?sso-checked=true

 

What we did:

  • Prior to giving heparin, we started alprostadil (PGE1) infusion at 1mcg/min and increased the doseage as tolerated to 5mcg/min.  We did offset the hypotension with levophed and vasopressin.
  • We gave our routine dose of heparin.
  • No heparin resistance noted.  Because this would be a long pump run, we opted to give an antifibrinolytic infusion as well as bolus.
  • This patient required higher than normal amounts of pressors and ultimately received methylene blue to help with vasoplegia.
  • We reversed the heparin with protamine and stopped the PGE1 at that time.

Adjuvants to prolong regional anesthesia

For my single shot blocks, I’m always looking for ways to prolong my regional anesthetic effect.  For awhile, Exparel was the most talked about drug to have a 72 hour blockade.  We don’t have this medication available to us at the hospital.  Therefore, it’s time to get creative and hit the literature to see what has worked for prolonging our blocks.

regional-anesthesia-3-638

Prolonging blockade with adjuvants:

 

  • Facilitatory effects of perineural dexmedetomidine on neuraxial and peripheral nerve block: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Anaesthesia 110 (6): 915–25 (2013).
    • Sensory block duration was prolonged by 150 min [95% confidence interval (CI): 96, 205, P,0.00001] with intrathecal dexmedetomidine. Perineural dexmedetomidine used in brachial plexus (BP) block may prolong the mean duration of sensory block by 284 min (95% CI: 1, 566, P¼0.05), but this difference did not reach statistical significance. Motor block duration and time to first analgesic request were prolonged for both intrathecal and BP block. Dexmedetomidine produced reversible bradycardia in 7% of BP block patients, but no effect on the incidence of hypotension. No patients experienced respiratory depression.
    • Considerable differences existed in the doses of perineural dexmedetomidine; doses varied between 3, 5, 10, or 15 mcg for the intrathecal route, and 30, 100, 0.75, 1 mcg/kg for the peripheral route.

 

 

 

 

 

 

dexmedetomidine-a-novel-anesthetic-agent-5-638

Other useful links: