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Singapore Med J. 2013 Feb;54(2):69-74.

Audits and critical incident reporting in paediatric anaesthesia: lessons from 75,331 anaesthetics.

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Department of Paediatric Anaesthesia, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, 100 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore.



This study reports our experience of audit and critical incidents observed by paediatric anaesthetics from 2000 to 2010 at a paediatric teaching hospital in Singapore.


Data pertaining to patient demographics, practices and critical incidents during anaesthesia and in the perioperative period were prospectively collected via an audit form and retrospectively analysed thereafter.


A total of 2,519 incidents were noted at the 75,331 anaesthetics performed during the study period. There were nine deaths reported. The majority of incidents reported were respiratory critical incidents (n = 1,757, 69.8%), followed by cardiovascular incidents (n = 238, 9.5%). Risk factors for critical incidents included age less than one year, and preterm and former preterm children.


Critical incident reporting has value, as it provides insights into the system and helps to identify active and system errors, thus enabling the formulation of effective preventive strategies. By creating and maintaining an environment that encourages reporting, we have maintained a high and consistent reporting rate through the years. The teaching of analysis of critical incidents should be regarded by all clinicians as an important tool for improving patient safety.

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