Research Publications Spotlight

Tanaka P, Park L, Tanaka M, Udani AD, Macario1 A. Development and Testing of a Curriculum for Teaching Informed Consent for Spinal Anesthesia to Anesthesiology Residents. J Pain Relief 2016, 5:259.


INTRODUCTION: Properly obtaining informed consent for spinal anesthesia is a skill expected of anesthesiology residents. The goals of the study were to 1) use a Delphi method to develop a curriculum for teaching informed consent for spinal anesthesia, and a checklist of required elements; 2) determine which elements of the informed consent process were most frequently missed prior to the curriculum; 3) quantify if this curriculum improved performance of correctly obtaining informed consent from a standardized patient; and 4) measure retention of learning as measured by how residents performed on actual patients.

METHODS: Performance on obtaining informed consent was tested with an 11-item checklist on a standardized patient before and after completing the curriculum. Resident performance on their next three patients scheduled to have spinal anesthesia was evaluated at the bedside using the same checklist.

RESULTS: At baseline before completing the curriculum 18 anesthesia residents (39% female) with a mean 6.29 months (SD 3.59, median 6.5, 25th-75th quartile range 4.25-9.75) of residency completed and 11.39 prior spinals (SD 13.1, median 13.14, 25th-75th quartile range 3-14) successfully performed 47% (SD 20%, median 45%, 25th-75th quartile range 36-41%) of the 11 required elements. The 3 most commonly missed elements were: “Teach back: Ask the patient to repeat key items in discussion” (0% correct), “Connect, Introduce, Communicate, Ask permission, Respond, Exit” (6%), and “Have the patient verbally agree with the consent forms (17%).” 7 residents completed the written materials and video curriculum and significantly increased their performance to successfully complete 90% of the required elements on a standardized patient, and 86% on actual patients 1-5 days later (P<0.01). 11 other residents completed the written materials and video curriculum supplemented with a 1:1 session with a faculty and significantly increased the percentage of properly completed elements to 97% on the standardized patient, and to 88% on actual patients (P<0.01).

Conclusions: The curriculum developed increased performance on how well informed consent was obtained by junior anesthesia residents on an 11 item checklist and may be used by training programs to teach and evaluate their residents.

Gulack B, Hale B, White WD, Moon RE, Bennett-Guerrero E. Marriage and Mortality After Non-Cardiac Surgery. J Surg Res, 2016 [Epub ahead of print].


BACKGROUND: Marriage is linked to substantial societal and economic benefits, and it has been associated with improved outcomes following acute illness. However, it is not known if being married confers benefit to patients undergoing noncardiac surgical procedures.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients undergoing any noncardiac surgical procedure were included over a period of 19 months. All-cause mortality at 2 years was determined by linking patient records to the National Death Index. Risk adjustment was performed using Cox modeling and the Cleveland Clinic risk stratification index.

RESULTS: Of the 11,588 patients included, 7830 (68.0%) were married at the time of surgery. There was a significant interaction between sex and marital status (P = 0.03), so the remainder of the analysis was performed separately by sex. Among men, not being married was associated with significantly worse survival (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06, 1.63), whereas among women, there was no significant association between marital status and survival (HR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.77, 1.15). Furthermore, divorced men (HR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.25, 2.51) and never married men (HR: 1.53, 95% CI: 1.14, 2.05) had significantly worse survival than married men, whereas there was no significant difference between widowed men and married men, nor when comparing widowed, divorced, or never married women to married women.

CONCLUSIONS: Among a diverse group of surgical patients, being married at the time of surgery is associated with significantly improved survival only among men. Focused efforts to improve social support for unmarried male patients may improve outcomes.

Wischmeyer PE. Are we Creating Survivors…or Victims in Critical Care? Delivering Targeted Nutrition to Improve Outcomes. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2016 Aug;22(4):279-84.

Wischmeyer PE, McDonald D, Knight R. Role of the Microbiome, Probiotics, and ‘Dysbiosis Therapy’ in Critical Illness. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2016 Aug;22(4):347-53.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Loss of ‘health-promoting’ microbes and overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria (dysbiosis) in ICU is believed to contribute to nosocomial infections, sepsis, and organ failure (multiple organ dysfunction syndrome). This review discusses new understanding of ICU dysbiosis, new data for probiotics and fecal transplantation in ICU, and new data characterizing the ICU microbiome.

RECENT FINDINGS: ICU dysbiosis results from many factors, including ubiquitous antibiotic use and overuse. Despite advances in antibiotic therapy, infections and mortality from often multidrug-resistant organisms (i.e., Clostridium difficile) are increasing. This raises the question of whether restoration of a healthy microbiome via probiotics or other ‘dysbiosis therapies’ would be an optimal alternative, or parallel treatment option, to antibiotics. Recent clinical data demonstrate probiotics can reduce ICU infections and probiotics or fecal microbial transplant (FMT) can treat Clostridium difficile. This contributes to recommendations that probiotics should be considered to prevent infection in ICU. Unfortunately, significant clinical variability limits the strength of current recommendations and further large clinical trials of probiotics and FMT are needed. Before larger trials of ‘dysbiosis therapy’ can be thoughtfully undertaken, further characterization of ICU dysbiosis is needed. To addressing this, we conducted an initial analysis demonstrating a rapid and marked change from a ‘healthy’ microbiome to an often pathogen-dominant microbiota (dysbiosis) in a broad ICU population.

SUMMARY: A growing body of evidence suggests critical illness and ubiquitous antibiotic use leads to ICU dysbiosis that is associated with increased ICU infection, sepsis, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Probiotics and FMT show promise as ICU therapies for infection. We hope future-targeted therapies using microbiome signatures can be developed to correct ‘illness-promoting’ dysbiosis to restore a healthy microbiome post-ICU to improve patient outcomes.

Arora RC, Wischmeyer PE, Singal RK. Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Postcardiotomy: “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2016 Oct 24. pii: S0022-5223(16)31375-7. [Epub ahead of print]