Print Friendly, PDF & Email

While You Were Sleeping… Under Anaesthetic

image1This weekend, anesthetists from around the world will descend on Euroanaesthesia 2015, the European Society of Anesthesiology’s annual congress running between May 30th and June 1st to find out about the latest innovations and techniques in the field.

Going under anesthetic is a common, necessary but sometimes daunting experience for many patients. Despite advancements in anesthesia delivery, patients still suffer from side effects such as a lengthy emergence from the effects of the sedative, vomiting or even, at the more serious but much less frequent end, damage to brain cells. To help alleviate and minimize these risks, innovation plays a significant role to anesthesiology.

Anesthesia has changed significantly since sedatives such as alcohol and opium were used hundreds of years ago. The first documented general anesthetic was carried out by the American physician Crawford Long in 1842, with basic inhalation equipment and none of the technology we have today.

Advancements in digital technology are driving a new era of brilliant anesthesiology machines at GE that are helping healthcare providers improve the care provided to patients. GE aims to improve the outcomes for patients by innovating to improve personalization features in its systems to reduce side effects. For example, with an obese patient, the distribution of the sedative can be very different due to their metabolism. The drug may stay in the body longer but intelligent technology can help to counter that.

Thierry Leclercq, President & CEO of Life Care Solutions at GE Healthcare said: “Even though clinicians commonly use anesthetics, there is room to make the patients’ experience as free of side effects as possible. We put the patient at the heart of our technology. We make our technology capable of personalization as no two patients are the same and we want to ease their comfort”.

With today’s innovations it is possible to tell when a patient is suffering pain even though he or she is asleep.

Technology is available that can automatically adjust the amount of sedative a patient receives by monitoring changes in the nervous system and the rate at which the patient’s body is eliminating the sedative.

It is also important to have a lung protection ventilation strategy to maintain the right breathing rate at all times.

As Professor Martin Bauer, Deputy Director of the Clinic for Anesthesiology at the University Medical Centre Gottingen said: “My first thought was actually: why hasn’t this always been around? It’s always like that with intelligent inventions, they have only just been brought out and you are already asking yourself why somebody hadn’t done it earlier and why I wasn’t the one who invented it.”