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Anaesthesia. 2002 Nov;57(11):1060-6.

Recovery room incidents: a review of 419 reports from the Anaesthetic Incident Monitoring Study (AIMS).

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, North Shore Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.


Four hundred and nineteen incidents that occurred in the recovery room were extracted from the Anaesthetic Incident Monitoring Study database, representing 5% of the total database of 8372 reports. Incidents were reported mainly in daylight hours, with over 50% occurring in ASA 1-2 patients. The most common presenting problems related to respiratory/airway issues (183; 43%), cardiovascular problems (99; 24%) and drug errors (44; 11%). One hundred and twenty-two events (29%) led to a major physiological disturbance and required management in the High Dependency Unit or Intensive Care Unit. Contributing factors cited included error of judgement (77; 18%), communication failure (57; 14%) and inadequate pre-operative preparation (29; 7%), whilst factors minimising the incident included previous experience (97; 23%), detection by monitoring (72; 17%) and skilled assistance (54; 13%). Staffing and infrastructure of the recovery room needs to be supported, with ongoing education and quality assurance programmes developed to ensure that such events can be reduced in the future.

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