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Study Shows Anaesthetic-Related Deaths Reduced Dramatically

London-led research looks at data collected worldwide over past 50 years

September 25, 2012

Dr. Daniel Bainbridge'
A team of researchers led by London’s Dr. Daniel Bainbridge have compiled data from 87 studies worldwide that shows post-anaesthetic deaths have declined as much as 90 percent since before the 1970s. During the same period, the risk of dying from any cause within 48 hours of surgery has decreased by 88 percent. The study covered outcomes in both developed and developing countries, with the findings published in the current issue of the high-profile journal The Lancet.


The study calls for use of evidence-based interventions to reduce the disparities between outcomes in higher and lower income countries. It also makes the point that although significant progress has been made, there is more that can be done. “Although anaesthetic mortality remains low compared with traffic fatalities or suicide, it still remains high compared with death caused by air travel, which is a commonly used yardstick to measure risk,” says Dr. Bainbridge.  


Dr. Bainbridge is a scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute, and Anesthetist at London Health Sciences Centre, and an Associate Professor at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University.


Lawson Health Research Institute is the home of hospital-based research in London, Canada as a part of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London.