Ep 149: Quality of Care Studies in Anesthesia – Fact vs Myth

For the past 50+ years, numerous quality of care studies have been published that evaluated outcomes based on the anesthesia provider. These studies have produced great data but some of the research methods and findings were flawed. That’s been used by the ASA and AANA to promote agendas. We’ve invited Nancy Bruton-Maree, CRNA, and Sandy Ouellette, CRNA, back on the show to tell us about the different studies through the years and sort out the difference between fact and fiction.

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

The healthcare industry relies on studies and research to continue improving and growing the quality of care, but some of results in the area of anesthesia haven’t always been perfect.

On this episode of the podcast, we want to take another historical look at the profession and learn from the past. Our resident historians, Nancy Bruton-Maree, CRNA, and Sandy Ouellette, CRNA, are back to teach about the most notable studies that have been done regarding anesthesia over the past 50+ years. Not everything from these studies is exactly accurate so we’ll rely on them to also help us sort out the fact from fiction.

As you get started on the episode, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • Why these studies are so important
  • What the early studies found
  • The memories Sandy has from that time when she was AANA president.
  • What the Silber study showed and how it was published
  • The analysis done by Dr. Michael Pine and the article he published about surgical mortality
  • Noteworthy quality of care studies of the 2000s
  • Studies on the OB population
  • What do we know today based on these studies through the years?
  • What the AANA offers members to help them learn more about these studies.
  • Why it’s so important that we keep producing data and continuing this work.

Link to Quality of Care in Anesthesia from AANA

Check it out the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

[4:27] – An overview of the studies and findings

[6:58] – Studies from the 1970s and 80s

[10:58] – Bechtodt study

[14:48] – When Sandy was president elect  

[17:30] – The Silber Study

[24:00] – Flawed results

[26:45] – Analysis by Dr. Michael Pine

[31:48] – Abenstein and Warmer article in 1996

[32:27] – Vila Study in Archives of Study

[33:17] – Dulisse & Cromwell study

[38:15] – Needleman study in 2008

[39:41] – Simonson study in 2007

[41:15] – What do we know now in 2021?

[43:05] – How to learn more

[48:04] – We need to keep producing data

[53:21] – The future is quality, cost and access


“It should be noted that no studies to date that have addressed anesthesia care outcomes have found a significant difference in outcome based on whether the anesthesia provider is a CRNA or an anesthesiologist.”

-Sandy Ouellette, CRNA

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