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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-24

Critical incidents and near misses during anesthesia: A prospective audit

1 Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, College of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Pamela Onorame Agbamu
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, PMB 12003, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2468-6859.199170

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Background: A critical incident is any preventable mishap associated with the administration of anesthesia and which leads to or could have led to an undesirable patients' outcome. Patients' safety can be improved by learning from reported critical incidents and near misses. Materials and Methods: All perioperative critical incidents (excluding obstetrics) occurring over 5 months were voluntarily documented in a pro forma. Age of patient, urgency of surgery, grade of anesthetist, and patients' outcome was noted. Results: Seventy-three critical incidents were recorded in 42 patients (incidence 6.1% of 1188 procedures) with complete recovery in 88.1% (n = 37) and mortality in 11.9% (n = 5). The highest incidents occurred during elective procedures (71.4%), which were all supervised by consultants, and in patients aged 0–10 years (40.1%). Critical incident categories documented were cardiovascular (41.1%), respiratory (23.25%), vascular access (15.1%), airway/intubation (6.85%), equipment errors (6.85%), difficult/failed regional technique (4.11%), and others (2.74%). The monitors available were: pulse oximetry (100%), precordial stethoscope (90.5%), sphygmomanometer (90.5%), capnography (54.8%), electrocardiogram (31%), and temperature (14.3%). The most probable cause of critical incident was patient factor (38.7%) followed by human error (22.5%). Equipment error, pharmacological factor, and surgical factor accounted for 12.9%. Conclusion: Critical incidents can occur in the hands of the highly skilled and even in the presence of adequate monitoring. Protocols should be put in place to avoid errors. Critical incident reporting must be encouraged to improve patients' safety and reduce morbidity and mortality.

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