Introduction: incident reporting systems are widely utilised within healthcare to analyse adverse events and have been shown to reduce patient harm. With data to suggest high anaesthetic-related mortality in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), such systems could allow more accurate determination of rates and types of incidents and could improve patient safety.
Methods: this prospective observational study carried out over six-weeks in March to April 2019 in an Ethiopian tertiary referral hospital, included direct observations in the operating room and recording of any anaesthesia-related adverse events occurring during the perioperative period.
Results: fifty surgical cases were observed during weekday daytime hours. Sixteen anaesthesia-related adverse events were observed in 12 patients, including six elective cases and six emergencies, an adverse event rate of 32% (n=16), affecting 24% (n=12) of patients. Most incidents occurred in infants less than one-year-old and those between 11-20 years (31.3%; n=5 each) and those undergoing general anaesthesia (66.7%; n=8), particularly during the induction phase (50%; n=8), the most common event being prolonged desaturation (31.3%; n=5). Most events were considered to contribute a low level of harm (56.3%; n=9). There were no intra-operative mortalities.
Conclusion: this study presents evidence of a higher rate of adverse events during anaesthesia at a tertiary referral hospital in Ethiopia, than reported in current literature from LMICs. There is potential for large volume data to be produced and learnt from with a reporting system in place in this setting. The most common event was desaturation detected by pulse oximetry, particularly in paediatric surgery.
- Adverse event
- Critical incident