OB Anesthesia Equally Safe When Provided by CRNAs or Anesthesiologists

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Obstetrical anesthesia, whether provided by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) or anesthesiologists, is extremely safe, and there is no difference in safety between hospitals that use only CRNAs compared with those that use only anesthesiologists, according to the results of a new study published in the January/February issue of Nursing Research (Vol. 56, No. 1, pp. 9-17).

The study, titled "Anesthesia Staffing and Anesthetic Complications During Cesarean Delivery," was a retrospective analysis undertaken by Daniel Simonson, CRNA, MHPA, chief anesthetist and managing partner of The Spokane Eye Surgery Center in Spokane, Wash.; Melissa Ahern, PhD, MBA, associate professor, Department of Health Policy and Administration, Washington State University, Spokane; and Michael Hendryx, PhD, associate professor, Department of Community Medicine, and research director, Institute of Health Policy Research, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, W.V.

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Simonson and his fellow researchers set out to identify differences in the rates of anesthetic complications for cesarean section in hospitals where the OB anesthesia is provided solely by CRNAs compared to hospitals where the OB anesthesia is provided solely by anesthesiologists in the state of Washington.

The results showed that there is no difference in rates of complications between hospitals that use only CRNAs compared with those that use only anesthesiologists. No difference was found in mortality rates either.

"The study results clearly demonstrate that OB anesthesia complications are no different between the CRNA-only and anesthesiologist-only staffing models," Simonson said. "Expectant mothers can have great confidence knowing that they and their babies will be safe in the care of a nurse anesthetist or an anesthesiologist.

"Further, hospital administrators and anesthesiology groups can comfortably consider variables other than provider safety or quality

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