Anesthesia Quality and Safety Advancing on a Legacy of Leadership

From the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (A.V.A., L.K.M., and M.C.M.P.-S.).
Anesthesiology (Impact Factor: 5.88). 12/2013; 120(2). DOI: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000096
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess progress in the field of anesthesia monitoring over the past 40 years using scientometric analysis. The following scientometric indexes were used: popularity indexes (general and specific), representing the proportion of articles on either a topic relative to all articles in the field of anesthetics (general popularity index, GPI) or the subfield of anesthesia monitoring (specific popularity index, SPI); index of change (IC), representing the degree of growth in publications on a topic from one period to the next; and index of expectations (IE), representing the ratio of the number of articles on a topic in the top 20 journals relative to the number of articles in all (>5,000) biomedical journals covered by PubMed. Publications on 33 anesthesia-monitoring topics were assessed. Our analysis showed that over the past 40 years, the rate of rise in the number of articles on anesthesia monitoring was exponential, with an increase of more than eleven-fold, from 296 articles over the 5-year period 1974-1978 to 3,394 articles for 2009-2013. This rise profoundly exceeded the rate of rise of the number of articles on general anesthetics. The difference was especially evident with the comparison of the related GPIs: stable growth of the GPI for anesthesia monitoring vs constant decline in the GPI for general anesthetics. By the 2009-2013 period, among specific monitoring topics introduced after 1980, the SPI index had a meaningful magnitude (≥1.5) in 9 of 24 topics: Bispectral Index (7.8), Transesophageal Echocardiography (4.2), Electromyography (2.8), Pulse Oximetry (2.4), Entropy (2.3), Train-of-four (2.3), Capnography (1.9), Pulse Contour (1.9), and Electrical Nerve Stimulation for neuromuscular monitoring (1.6). Only one of these topics (Pulse Contour) demonstrated (in 2009-2013) high values for both IC and IE indexes (76 and 16.9, respectively), indicating significant recent progress. We suggest that rapid growth in the field of anesthetic monitoring was one of the most important developments to compensate for the intrinsically low margins of safety of anesthetic agents.
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