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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Severe Pre-eclampsia and Anesthesia

Chief Complaint: elevated blood pressures, now with elevated liver enzymes

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Nifedipine 60mg ER BID, next dose at 0900.
2. Continue q4hr blood pressure monitoring; increase to q15mins should she have systolic blood pressure >160 or diastolic blood pressure >110. Please call Perinatologist should that occur.
3. NPO for now.
4. Follow-up serum preeclampsia labs at 1200, along with type & cross x2 units.
5. If AST/ALT continue to rise, would recommend primary cesarean section at that time.
6. Continue magnesium sulfate for now, and for 24 hours postpartum.
7. NICU aware.

PROBLEM LIST
1. INTRAUTERINE PREGNANCY AT 25w6d
2. SUPERIMPOSED PREECLAMPSIA WITH SEVERE FEATURES
3. TRANSAMINITIS, NOT YET 2x THE UPPER LIMITS OF NORMAL

HPI/HOSPITAL COURSE: 37 y.o. G1P0 at 25w6d, hospitalized for exacerbation of chronic hypertension, found to have preeclampsia with proteinuria. Patient received betamethasone and magnesium sulfate course. Since <deleted date> with change of her regimen from labetalol to nifedipine 30mg XR BID, patient had had normal to mild range blood pressures.

Patient had acute exacerbations in her blood pressures to the severe range. Please see my note from <date> in regards to her antihypertensive course. After her 10mg IV hydralazine yesterday evening, starting magnesium sulfate, and increasing her nifedipine to 60mg XR BID, she has now had normal to mild range blood pressures overnight. However, her 0000 and 0600 AM labs show an acute rise in her LFTs above her baseline, with AST now 74 and ALT 81. Platelets remain normal range, as is serum creatinine (0.5). Magnesium level this morning at 6.4, infusion rate decreased to 1gm/hr.

Review of systems: denies headache, visual changes, RUQ or epigastric pain. No contractions, leakage of fluid, or vaginal bleeding. She is feeling fetal movement this morning.

Allergies:
• Amoxicillin Rash
CONV. REACTION:Rash
• Penicillins

Exam:
Vitals:
BP: (!) 140/97
Pulse: 89
Resp: 18
Temp: 36.7 °C (98 °F) 36.7 °C (98 °F)
TempSrc: Oral Oral
SpO2: 98% 98% 98%
Weight:
Height:
General: no acute distress
Cardiovascular: regular rate, normal rhythm. Intact S1/S2
Pulmonary: clear to auscultation bilaterally
Abdomen: gravid, non-tender to palpation
Extremities: non-tender; trace lower extremity edema, symmetric. 2+ brisk patellar reflexes

Ultrasound (12/5): Cephalic presentation. estimated fetal weight 28th percentile, 776g. Normal umbilical artery dopplers.

Labs:
Lab Results
Component Value Date
WBC 14.4 (H)
RBC 4.51
HGB 13.7
HCT 41.3
MCV 91
MCH 30
MCHC 33
RDW 11.8
PLT 313
PRENEUTROABS 9.56 (H)
DIFFTYPE Auto
NEUTOPHILPCT 66.4
LYMPHOPCT 24.0 (L)
MONOPCT 7.9
EOSPCT 0.7
BASOPCT 0.9
NEUTROABS 9.56 (H)
LYMPHSABS 3.46
MONOSABS 1.14 (H)
EOSABS 0.11

Lab Results
Component Value Date
NA 133 (L)
K 4.0
CL 102
CO2 22
GLUCOSE 84
BUN 11
CREATININE 0.5
OSMOLALITY 275 (L)
ALBUMIN 4.0
LABPROT 7.4
CALCIUM 7.0 (CL)
ALKPHOS 91
AST 74 (H)
BILITOT 0.2
ANIONGAP 9
ALT 81 (H)
GFRCNAFA >60
GFRCAFA >60

NST: appropriate for gestational age and magnesium sulfate administration. Baseline 135, mild to moderate variability, occasional 10×10 accelerations. Rare variable decelerations.
Toco: irritability

Assessment/Plan:
37 y.o. G1P0 at 25w6d, admitted for superimposed preeclampsia with severe features.

With preeclampsia with severe features, we do try to wait until 34 weeks for delivery; however, delivery is recommended once in the steroid window for the following: persistent symptoms of preeclampsia (i.e., headache, vision changes, upper abdominal pain), worsening or uncontrolled blood pressure despite medication therapy, development of pulmonary edema, placental abruption, eclampsia, HELLP syndrome (i.e., platelets < 100,000 or LFTs > 2x normal), evidence of acute kidney injury (i.e., creatinine >/= 1.1 mg/dl), eclampsia or non-reassuring fetal testing.

I discussed my concern that her liver enzymes, which had mildly been elevated on admission, are now acutely rising, which would be an indication for delivery at this time. However, at 25+6 weeks, I recommend rechecking her preeclampsia labs again at 1200. If there is a further acute rise, I do recommend delivery via cesarean section at that point.

We discussed the risks/benefits/alternatives of primary cesarean section, as well as the possibility for a classical hysterotomy, in which she would not be allowed to labor in the future. Risks of cesarean section discussed included:

Risks of cesarean section:
1. Bleeding, with the possibility or requiring a transfusion. Risk of transfusion include allergic reaction (1/50,000), transmission of HIV/Hepatitis B or C 1/1.5-1.7 million. The patient is accepting of blood transfusion if needed, and a type and cross x2 units will be ordered at noon.
2. Infection, requiring intravenous antibiotics and potentially prolonged hospital stay
3. Damage to surrounding organs, not limited to baby (<1%), bowel, bladder, nerves, vessels, ureters.
4. Possible need for hysterectomy in the event of irreversible catastrophic bleeding
5. Wound complications not limited to separation and/or infection
6. Medical complications not limited to deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, cardiovascular accident, myocardial infarction, death.

I would not advise induction of labor at 26 weeks, as the chance of a successful vaginal delivery prior to 28-30 weeks in a primip is low.

Patient will remain NPO and on magnesium sulfate (for maternal seizure prophylaxis and fetal neuroprotection) at this time, as we await her 1200 labs. Will continue q4hr blood pressure monitoring, and she will be given her 60mg XR nifedipine at 0900.

Scientists-discover-critical-molecular-biomarkers-of-preeclampsia
From Debuglies.com

Spinal Anesthesia in Severe Preeclampsia. Anesthesia & Analgesia: September 2013 – Volume 117 – Issue 3 – p 686–693.

PDF version of article above

Subarachnoid block for caesarean section in severe preeclampsia. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Apr-Jun; 27(2): 169–173.

Comparing the Hemodynamic Effects of Spinal Anesthesia in Preeclamptic and Healthy Parturients During Cesarean Section. Anesth Pain Med. 2016 Jun; 6(3): e11519.

Recent advances in pre-eclampsia management: an anesthesiologist’s perspective! Anaesthesia, Pain & Intensive Care ISSN 1607-8322, ISSN (Online) 2220-5799.

Hemodynamic Changes Associated with Spinal Anesthesia for Cesarean Delivery in Severe Preeclampsia. Anesthesiology 5 2008, Vol.108, 802-811.

ALS and General Anesthesia

#ALS and #anesthesia

I had a case with a patient who was newly diagnosed with ALS.  They had recently had a fall and was coming in for a TEE (for pre-Watchman workup), AV node ablation, and pacemaker placement.  There was some mild lower extremity weakness.  Upper extremity strength seemed to be 5/5.  The patient recently passed a swallow evaluation.  The plan was for a GA.

What is ALS?

als-whats-is-ALS-info
From http://walkforals.ca/what-is-als/

ALS Association: What is ALS?

ALS Association: Signs and Symptoms

 

Considerations in ALS patients for GA:

 

My plan:

  • Induction: propofol, remifentanil. I avoided paralytics.
  • Pain control: remifentanil, local anesthetic by surgeon.
  • Emergence: deep, patient breathing on their own
  • Dropoff in PACU: patient wide awake and comfortable.

 

Esophagectomy

The case is booked as an Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy.  Let’s learn a couple of things here from what the surgery will be, to the type of anesthesia, to post-op pain management.

What’s an Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy?

Esophagectomy

Anesthetic monitors:

  • Central line (Cordis for volume in emergency)
  • Vigileo/FloTrac – SVI, SVV, SVR, CO great markers for fluid management
  • BIS
  • UOP

Anesthetic technique:

  • Induction: lidocaine, Propofol, rocuronium/sux (dependent upon if blockage from tumor necessitating RSI or not)
  • Maintenance: sevoflurane
  • Extubation: attempt in OR
  • Fluid management
    • Colloid vs. crystalloid
    • CVP vs. Esophageal doppler vs. pulse pressure vs. stroke volume variation
      • Keep SVI >35 mL/m2 to decrease risk of AKI
  • OLV
    • To reduce lung damage and ARDS
    • 4-6 cc/kg ventilation strategy (lung-protective)
    • Pressure-controlled
    • Optimization of PEEP
    • PIPs <35mmHg, Plateau pressure <25mmHg
  • Pain Management
    • Pre-op adjuvant pain meds:
      • Oxycodone XR 20mg PO if <70y/o or 10mg if >70yo
      • Celecoxib 400mg PO if <70y/o or 200mg if >70yo
      • Pregabalin 150mg PO if <70y/o or 75mg if >70yo
    • Thoracic Epidural: Improved blood flow to anastomotic site, earlier extubation times, reduced pneumonia rates.
  • Vasopressors: phenylephrine. Consider norepinephrine (improved CO), vasopressin if needed.

Case:

40-something year old female who was newly diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of her distal esophagus about 2 months prior.  Presented to ED with N/V, epigastric pain, malnourishment.  Had underone chemo and radiation.  PMH achalasia, endometriosis.  NKDA. Scheduled for Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy.  Pt appeared cachectic, on TPN, 45kg, 5’5″.  L chest port-a-cath in place.

In OR, pt received T7 epidural.  RSI w cricoid pressure throughout.  37Fr L DLT placed gently without resistance.  31cm at teeth noted after fiberoptic bronch check.  20g L radial a-line placed.  Surgeon stated no cervical approach needed, therefore, I placed a R IJ cordis and CVP.  FloTrac for SVI, SVR, SVV, CO.

Albumin for IVF.  Goal SVI >35, CVP 5-10. Phenylephrine for SBP >90.  OGT (resistance met prior to first dark marking on tube that was expected with 6 cm tumor).  BIS goal 40-60.  Epidural initially dosed with 5ml 2% lido with epi.  Another dose given roughly 30 minutes later.  Remaining dosing throughout case with 4ml 0.25% bupi.  Acetaminophen IV 1000mg prior to incision.  Fentanyl IV for abdominal laparoscopy.

Abdominal laparoscopy –> tumor unable to be freed/resected via laparoscopy.  Converted to laparotomy.  Tumor adhered to pericardium.

R thoracotomy: OLV at 200ml TV, RR 21 (volume-restrictive ventilation strategy 4-6ml/kg).  Good lung isolation.  Good anastamosis of tissues.  Two lung ventilation according to surgeon.  Recruit lungs to decrease atelectasis.

Emergence: + Pressure support through DLT.  Extubate in OR.

Lessons learned:

  1. Early communication with surgeon(s).
  2. Lung-protective strategies
  3. Volume restriction for IVF
  4. Appropriate pressor choice
  5. Pain control: thoracic epidural (0.125% bupiv + hydromorphone 10mg/ml), IV low dose ketamine (0.1-1mg/kg/hr), precedex if tolerated, if PO then preop pain meds above.  If not PO, then IV acetaminophen RTC, IV ketorolac RTC (if ok with surgeon).  Continue baseline pain regimen if patient is a chronic pain patient.
  6. Setup is key.  Discuss which side for the cervical approach (if doing) prior to doing neck lines so not in the surgical field.

Resources:

 

Cardiac Arrest in the OR

Cardiac Arrest in the Operating Room:  Resuscitation and Management for the Anesthesiologist Part 1

Moitra, Vivek K.; Einav, Sharon; Thies, Karl-Christian; Nunnally, Mark E.; Gabrielli, Andrea; Maccioli, Gerald A.; Weinberg, Guy; Banerjee, Arna; Ruetzler, Kurt; Dobson, Gregory; McEvoy, Matthew D.; O’Connor, Michael F.

Anesthesia & Analgesia126(3):876-888, March 2018.


Cardiac anesthesiologists and LVAD patients: Pro vs Cons

There’s been a big debate re: who should care for LVAD patients… a general anesthesiologist or a cardiac anesthesiologist?  See below for pros and cons of each.  Ultimately, I think all anesthesiologists should be comfortable caring for these patients as we’ll see more and more LVAD patients undergoing procedures.

Troubleshooting the Left Ventricular Assist Device.  Emergency Medicine. 2016 February;48(2):58-63.

RTEmagicC_em048020061_t1.jpg
From Emergency Medicine, Feb 2016.
LVAD Parameter Abnormalities:
  • High power, low-pulsatility index and fluctuating pump speed: Consider pump thrombosis or hypotension, vasodilation, initial response to exercise.
  • High power with high pulsatility index: Consider fluid overload, normal physiological response to increased demand; myocardial recovery.
  • Low power, low pulsatility index, and unchanging speed: Consider hypertension or inflow/outflow obstruction, LV failure, dysrhythmia.
  • Low power with normal or high pulsatility index: Consider suction event.

Pro: Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologists Should Provide Anesthetic Care for Patients With Ventricular Assist Devices Undergoing Noncardiac Surgery. JCVA, February 2017. Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 378–381

Con: Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologists Are Not Necessary for the Management of Patients With Ventricular Assist Devices Undergoing Noncardiac Surgery. JCVA, February 2017. Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 382–387.


VAD-2
From LifeInTheFastLane.com

Ventricular assist devices and non-cardiac surgery.  BMC Anesthesiology201515:185

  • Goals of care for LVAD patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery should be directed at maintaining forward flow and adequate perfusion. Three main factors that affect LVAD flow are preload, RV function, and afterload.
  • The right ventricle is the primary means of LVAD filling; therefore, maintaining RV function is imperative.
  • Marked increases in systemic vascular resistance should be avoided.
  • Generally, decreases in pump flow should first be treated with a fluid challenge. Hypovolemia should be avoided and intraoperative losses should be replaced aggressively. Second line treatment should include inotropic support for the right ventricle.
  • Low-dose vasopressin (<2.4 U/h) may be the vasopressor of choice due to its minimal effect on pulmonary vascular resistance.
  • Standard Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Guidelines should be followed; however, external chest compressions should be avoided during cardiac arrest.
  • Steep Trendelenburg may increase venous return, risking RV strain. Peritoneal insufflation for laparoscopic surgery also increases afterload and has detrimental effects on preload.  Insufflation should utilize minimum pressures and be increased in a gradual, step-wise fashion.
  • TEE can be extremely valuable in diagnosing the cause of obstruction.

Perioperative management of patients with left ventricular assist devices undergoing noncardiac surgery. Annals of cardiac anaesthesia 2016. Vol 19, Issue 4: 676-686.

LVAD: What Should I report? Feb 2017 ASE conference. **ECHO**

  • Higher the RPMs (pump speed)
    • More LV compression, smaller LV size
    • Less functional MR
    • More AI, less AV opening
    • Less LVED diameter
  • De Novo Aortic Regurgitation Post LVAD
    • Proposed mechanisms
      • Aortic valve remains closed during systole
      • Commissural fusion of the aortic valve from disuse
      • Subsequent degeneration of valve
      • Turbulent blood backflow from small outflow cannula onto a closed valve
      • Persistent elevation of aortic root pressure –> aortic root dilation and valve incompetence
    • Treatment
      • Lower LVAD speed (but that may worsen mitral regurgitation)
      • Aortic valve surgery or percutaneous intervention
      • Heart transplant
  • RV Fractional Area Change (RV FAC)
    • RVFAC is a rough measure of RV systolic function (4 chamber view)
    • RVFAC = (RVEDA – RVESA) / RVEDA
    • Normal RVFAC = 35 – 63%

Ventricular Assist Device (VAD). LifeInTheFastLane.com. .

Care of the LVAD patient PPT. Summit 2014.

  • Pulsatility Index:
    • —normally decrease as pump speed is increased

LVAD: Understanding equipment and Alarms. Duke Heart Center PPT.

LVAD Management in the ICU. Crit Care Med 2014; 42:158–168. 

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.20.26 AM
From Left Ventricular Assist Device Management in the ICU Pratt, Alexandra K. MD1; Shah, Nimesh S. MD1; Boyce, Steven W. MD2 Critical Care Medicine: January 2014 – Volume 42 – Issue 1 – p 158–168 doi: 10.1097/01.ccm.0000435675.91305.76 Concise Definitive Review
Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.20.47 AM
Left Ventricular Assist Device Management in the ICU Pratt, Alexandra K. MD1; Shah, Nimesh S. MD1; Boyce, Steven W. MD2 Critical Care Medicine: January 2014 – Volume 42 – Issue 1 – p 158–168 doi: 10.1097/01.ccm.0000435675.91305.76 Concise Definitive Review

 

Anesthesia for Left Ventricular Assist Device Insertion: A Case Series and Review. Ochsner J. 2011 Spring; 11(1): 70–77.

Medical Management of Patients With Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices. Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2014 Feb; 16(2): 283.

 


My blog posts:

HeartWare vs. HeartMate LVAD

Ventricular Assist Devices: Impella

Neuraxial anesthesia and External Cephalic Version

ACOG: If Your Baby is Breech

What is an external cephalic version?

External-Cephalic-Version
From Pregmed.org

Wikipedia: external cephalic version


Randomized trial of anaesthetic interventions in external cephalic version for breech presentation. British Journal of Anaesthesia 114 (6): 944–50 (2015)

  • Conclusions: Spinal Anesthesia (SA: hyperbaric bupivacaine 9mg + fentanyl 15mcg) increased the success rate and reduced pain for both primary and re-attempts of External Cephalic Version (ECV), whereas IV Anesthesia (IVA) using remifentanil infusion (0.1mcg/kg/min) only reduced the pain. There was no significant increase in the incidence of fetal bradycardia or emergency CS, with ECV performed under anaesthetic interventions. Relaxation of the abdominal muscles from SA appears to underlie the improved outcomes for ECV.
  • Editor’s key points: There is no consensus on best anaesthetic technique for external cephalic version (ECV).  In this study, success at ECV was higher using spinal anaesthesia compared with remifentanil infusion or no intervention.  Pain was also reduced in the remifentanil group but success at ECV was no different to the no intervention group.  The effect of spinal anaesthesia in ECV may relate to relaxation of the abdominal musculature.

Neuraxial blockade for external cephalic version: Cost analysis. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2015 Jul; 41(7): 1023–1031.

  • Neuraxial blockade is associated with minimal hospital and insurer cost changes in the setting of external cephalic version, while reducing the cesarean delivery rate.

External cephalic version with or without spinal anesthesia: a cost-effectiveness analysis.  American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, January 2016Volume 214, Issue 1, Supplement, Pages S206–S207.  

  • It is both effective and cost-effective to utilize spinal anesthesia to perform ECV in term, nulliparous women with breech fetuses. Translation of this potentially impactful approach into broad obstetric practice should be undertaken.

Effect of Regional Anesthesia on the Success Rate of External Cephalic Version: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Nov; 118(5): 1137–1144.

  • Six RCTs met criteria for study inclusion. Regional anesthesia was associated with a higher external cephalic version success rate compared to intravenous or no analgesia (59.7% vs. 37.6%; pooled RR 1.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29-1.93). This significant association persisted when the data was stratified by type of regional anesthesia (spinal vs. epidural). The number needed to treat with regional anesthesia to achieve one additional successful ECV was 5. There was no evidence of statistical heterogeneity (p=0.32, I2=14.9%) or publication bias (Harbord test p=0.78). There was no statistically significant difference in the risk of cesarean delivery comparing regional anesthesia to intravenous or no analgesia (48.4% vs. 59.3%; pooled RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.55-1.17). Adverse events were rare and not significantly different between the two groups.

Does Regional Anesthesia for External Cephalic Version Increase the Risk of Emergent Cesarean Delivery? Obstetrics & Gynecology: May 2016

  • Neuraxial Anesthesia (NA) for External Cephalic Version (ECV) increased the risk of emergent cesarean delivery (CD) without impacting ECV success. These findings differ from previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The increased risk and decreased success of our ECVs compared to ECVs performed in the context of RCTs could be explained by patient selection, variation in operator experience or technique, or variation in anesthetic management.  Future studies should further evaluate the risk of NA for ECV in true practice scenarios outside of RCTs.

Clinical outcomes after external cephalic version with spinal anesthesia after failure of a first attempt without anesthesia.  International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Volume139, Issue3. December 2017: 324-328.

  • Repeat ECV with spinal anesthesia after a failed first attempt without spinal anesthesia increased vertex presentation at birth and decreased the rate of cesarean delivery.

Effect of Intrathecal Bupivacaine Dose on the Success of External Cephalic Version for Breech Presentation: A Prospective, Randomized, Blinded Clinical Trial. Anesthesiology 10 2017, Vol.127, 625-632.

  • Results: A total of 240 subjects were enrolled, and 239 received the intervention. External cephalic version was successful in 123 (51.5%) of 239 patients. Compared with bupivacaine 2.5 mg, the odds (99% CI) for a successful version were 1.0 (0.4 to 2.6), 1.0 (0.4 to 2.7), and 0.9 (0.4 to 2.4) for bupivacaine 5.0, 7.5, and 10.0 mg, respectively (P = 0.99). There were no differences in the cesarean delivery rate (P = 0.76) or indication for cesarean delivery (P = 0.82). Time to discharge was increased 60 min (16 to 116 min) with bupivacaine 7.5 mg or higher as compared with 2.5 mg (P = 0.004).
  • Conclusions: A dose of intrathecal bupivacaine greater than 2.5 mg does not lead to an additional increase in external cephalic procedural success or a reduction in cesarean delivery.