PURPOSE: Neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) are routinely administered to patients in a multiplicity of anesthetic settings. Absence of postoperative residual neuromuscular block is widely considered an anesthetic patient safety mandate. Despite the increasing availability of a wider range of commercial quantitative neuromuscular monitors, the availability and use of neuromuscular monitoring devices is deemed to be suboptimal even in countries with above-average health system ratings. The present study aims to more precisely characterize the perceived availability, cost sensitivity and usability of neuromuscular monitoring devices within European anesthesia departments.
METHODS: A pre-registered internet-based survey assessing the availability, cost sensitivity and usability of neuromuscular monitoring devices was distributed as e-mail newsletter by the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (ESAIC) to all of its active full members. The survey was available online for a total of 120 days.
RESULTS: Having targeted a total of 7472 ESAIC members, the survey was completed by a total of 692 anesthesiologists (9.3%) distributed across 37 different European countries. Quantitative monitors were reported to be proportionally more available than qualitative ones (87.6% vs. 62.6%, respectively), as well as in greater monitor-per-operating room ratios. Most anesthesiologists (60.5%) expressed moderate confidence in quantitative monitors, with artifactual recordings and inaccurate measurements being the most frequently encountered issues (25.9%). The commercial pricing of quantitative devices was considered more representative of a device's true value, when compared to qualitative instruments (average cost of €4.500 and €1.000 per device, respectively).
CONCLUSION: The availability of quantitative NMM in European operating theaters has increased in comparison with that reported in previous decades, potentially indicating increasing monitoring rates. European anesthesiologists express moderate confidence in quantitative neuromuscular monitors, along with a sentiment of adequate pricing when compared to their qualitative counterparts. Trust in quantitative monitors is marked by caution and awareness for artifactual recordings, with a consequent expectation that developments focusing on accuracy, reliability and ergonomics of neuromuscular monitors be prioritized.
- Neuromuscular monitoring