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British Journal of Anaesthesia - current issue

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  1. French regional trauma network: the Rhone-Alpes example
  2. Safety culture and the 5 steps to safer surgery: an intervention study
    Background

    Improvements in safety culture have been postulated as one of the mechanisms underlying the association between the introduction of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist with perioperative briefings and debriefings, and enhanced patient outcomes. The 5 Steps to Safer Surgery (5SSS) incorporates pre-list briefings, the three steps of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist (SSC) and post-list debriefings in one framework. We aimed to identify any changes in safety culture associated with the introduction of the 5SSS in orthopaedic operating theatres.

    Methods

    We assessed the safety culture in the elective orthopaedic theatres of a large UK teaching hospital before and after introduction of the 5SSS using a modified version of the Safety Attitude Questionnaire - Operating Room (SAQ-OR). Primary outcome measures were pre-post intervention changes in the six safety culture domains of the SAQ-OR. We also analysed changes in responses to two items regarding perioperative briefings.

    Results

    The SAQ-OR survey response rate was 80% (60/75) at baseline and 74% (53/72) one yr later. There were significant improvements in both the reported frequency (P<0.001) and perceived importance (P=0.018) of briefings, and in five of the six safety culture domain scores (Working Conditions, Perceptions of Management, Job Satisfaction, Safety Climate and Teamwork Climate) of the SAQ-OR (P<0.001 in all cases). Scores in the sixth domain (Stress Recognition) decreased significantly (P=0.028).

    Conclusions

    Implementation of the 5SSS was associated with a significant improvement in the safety culture of elective orthopaedic operating theatres.

  3. Cover Page
  4. Crisis Management in Anaesthesiology
  5. Editorial Board
  6. Low zinc and selenium concentrations in sepsis are associated with oxidative damage and inflammation
    Background

    Oxidative stress with dysregulated inflammation are hallmarks of sepsis. Zinc and selenium have important antioxidant functions, such that they could be important in patients with sepsis. We used an in vitro approach to assess the effect of zinc and selenium on oxidative stress, mitochondrial function, and inflammatory responses in conditions mimicking sepsis and related the findings to plasma concentrations and biomarkers in patients with and without sepsis.

    Methods

    Human endothelial cells were exposed to a range of zinc and selenium concentrations in conditions mimicking sepsis. Zinc, selenium, and a series of biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation were measured in plasma from critically ill patients with and without sepsis.

    Results

    Culturing cells with different concentrations of zinc caused altered zinc transporter protein expression and cellular zinc content, and selenium affected glutathione peroxidase 3 activity. Although zinc or selenium at physiological concentrations had no effect on interleukin-6 release in vitro, higher concentrations of the trace elements were associated with improved mitochondrial function. Plasma zinc and selenium concentrations were low in patients [zinc: median (range) 4.6 (2.1–6.5) μM in control patients without sepsis and 3.1 (1.5–5.4) μM in patients with sepsis, P=0.002; and selenium: 0.78 (0.19–1.32) μM in control patients and 0.42 (0.22–0.91) μM in sepsis patients, P=0.0009]. Plasma concentrations of interleukin-6, other biomarkers of inflammation, and markers of oxidative damage to proteins and lipids were elevated, particularly in patients with sepsis, and were inversely related to plasma zinc and selenium concentrations.

    Conclusions

    Zinc and selenium concentrations were reduced in critically ill patients, with increased oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers, particularly in patients with sepsis. Oxidative stress as a result of suboptimal selenium and zinc concentrations might contribute to damage of key proteins.

    Clinical trial registration

    ClinicalTrials.gov: registration number NCT01328509.

  7. General Information
  8. Continuous positive airway pressure during one-lung ventilation and disturbed visibility
  9. Contents Page
  10. Associate Editorial Board
  11. In the June BJA ...
  12. Intrajugular balloon catheter reduces air embolism in vitro and in vivo
    Background

    Neurosurgical procedures requiring a sitting position may put the patient at risk of a potentially life-threatening air embolism. Transient manual jugular venous compression limits further air entry in this situation. This study presents an alternative technique aimed at reducing the risk of air embolism.

    Methods

    In an in vitro model, an intrajugular balloon catheter was inserted to demonstrate that this device prevents air embolism. In an in vivo study, this device was bilaterally placed into jugular vessels in pigs. Using an ultrasound technique, blood flow was monitored and jugular venous pressure was recorded before and during cuff inflation. Air was applied proximally to the inflated cuffs to test the hypothesis that this novel device blocks air passage.

    Results

    In vitro, the intrajugular balloon catheter reliably prevented further air entry (n=10). Additionally, accumulated air could be aspirated from an orifice of the catheter (n=10). In vivo, inflation of the catheter balloon completely obstructed venous blood flow (n=8). Bilateral inflation of the cuff significantly increased the proximal jugular venous pressure from 9.8 (2.4) mm Hg to 14.5 (2.5) mm Hg (n=8, P<0.05). Under conditions mimicking an air embolism, air passage across the inflated cuffs was prevented and 78 (20%) (n=6) of the air dose could be aspirated by the proximal orifice of the catheter.

    Conclusions

    These findings may serve as a starting point for the development of intrajugular balloon catheters designed to reduce the risk of air embolism in patients undergoing neurosurgery in a sitting position.

  13. 'Paradox' of troponin elevations after non-cardiac surgery
  14. Antral sonography in the paediatric patient: can transducer choice affect the view?
  15. Triage during pandemic influenza: seeking absolution in numbers?