Anesthesiologists improve safety

November 03, 1992|By Chicago Tribune

By learning from mistakes, anesthesiologists have developed measures to significantly reduce risks from anesthesia-related injuries.

After a seven-year study of settled insurance claims found that injuries related to the respiratory system were the biggest problem area, anesthesiologists adopted two new techniques for monitoring breathing, said Dr. Robert Caplan of the University of Washington at Seattle.

One, called pulse oximetry, uses a simple device clipped to a finger or ear lobe to measure oxygen levels in the blood. The other, capnography, reduces damage from breathing tubes placed in the throat, he reported at the meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

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