Complications related to peri-operative transoesophageal echocardiography - a one-year prospective national audit by the Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Critical Care

Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Critical Care

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Abstract

Previous studies on the safety of peri-operative transoesophageal echocardiography seem to suggest a low rate of associated morbidity and mortality. That said, there has been a paucity of prospective multicentre studies in this important area of clinical practice. We carried out a one-year prospective study in 2017, co-ordinated by the Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Critical Care, to determine the rate and severity of complications associated with peri-operative transoesophageal echocardiography in anaesthetised cardiology and cardiac surgical patients. With the help of clinicians from 28 centres across the UK and Ireland, we recorded the total number of examinations conducted in anaesthetised patients during the study period. All major complications at each centre were prospectively reported and recorded. Of the 22,314 examinations, there were 17 patients diagnosed with a major complication which caused either palatal injury or gastro-oesophageal disruption. This corresponds to an incidence of 0.08% (95%CI 0.05-0.13%) or approximately 1:1300 examinations. There were seven deaths reported during the study period which were directly attributed to these complications, corresponding to an incidence of 0.03% (95%CI 0.01-0.07%) or approximately 1:3000. These figures are higher than previously reported and suggest a high probability of death following the development of a complication (~40%). Most complications occurred in patients without known risk factors for transoesophageal echocardiography associated gastro-oesophageal injury. We suggest clinicians and departments review their procedural guidelines, especially in relation to probe insertion techniques, together with the information communicated to patients when the risks and benefits of such examinations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalAnaesthesia
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Anesthesia, Cardiac Procedures
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal/adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Medical Audit/statistics & numerical data
  • Perioperative Care/adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Societies, Medical
  • United Kingdom

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