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Patient and procedural factors associated with an increased risk of harm or death in the first 4,000 incidents reported to webAIRS

Australian and New Zealand Tripartite Anaesthesia Data Committee, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, Melbourne, Victoria

Summary

This report describes an analysis of patient and procedural factors associated with a higher proportion of harm or death versus no harm in the first 4,000 incidents reported to webAIRS. The report is supplementary to a previous cross-sectional report on the first 4,000 incidents reported to webAIRS. The aim of this analysis was to identify potential patient or procedural factors that are more common in incidents resulting in harm or death than in incidents with more benign outcomes. There was a >50% higher proportion of harm (versus no harm) for incidents in which the patient’s body mass index (BMI) was <18.5 kg/m2, for incidents in post-anaesthesia care units and non-theatre procedural areas, and for incidents under the main category of cardiovascular or neurological. The proportion of incidents associated with death was also higher (risk ratio >1.5) for BMI <18.5 kg/m2, incidents in non-theatre procedural areas, and incidents under the main category of cardiovascular or neurological. In addition, the proportion of incidents associated with death was higher for incidents in which the patient’s age was >80 years, the American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status was 4 or 5, incidents involving non-elective procedures, and incidents occurring after hours (1800 to 0800 hours). When faced with incidents with these potential risk factors, anaesthetists should consider earlier interventions and request assistance at an earlier stage. Educational strategies on incident prevention and management should place even further emphasis on scenarios involving these factors.

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