Anesthesia Hand Off Mid-Surgery Increases Risk
Having an anesthesiologist hand off care and leave during the middle of a surgery was associated with worse outcomes for the patient on the operating table. Combined mortality, hospital readmission, and major complications within 30 days after the operation reached a rate of 44% when a handover between anesthesiologists occurred during surgery versus 29% when the same anesthesiologist was present for the entire procedure. The results of this large Canadian study were statistically significant. Poor communication about active medical issues was cited as the presumed reason for worsened outcomes. An editorial, however, suggested that this data could be the impetus for vast improvement, not just after hand-offs, but for the underlying baseline adverse outcomes.