Study Objective: To ascertain current anesthesia utilization of esophageal and precordial stethoscopes in U.S. anesthesia training programs. Design: Prospective, single-blind, incidence study. Setting: Operating rooms of three tertiary care hospitals with major academic anesthesiology departments. Subjects: Anesthesia faculty [MD and certified registered nurse-anesthetist (CRNA) staff] and anesthesia trainees (anesthesiology residents and student nurse-anesthetists). Interventions: Observe and record the placement (stethoscope device appropriately positioned) and utilization (stethoscope in place and connected to the ear piece of the anesthesia provider) of the esophageal or precordial stethoscope during general, regional, and monitored anesthesia care. Measurements and Main Results: During 520 anesthetics, an esophageal stethoscope was inserted in 68% of subjects, a precordial stethoscope was positioned in 16%, and an anesthetic stethoscope was absent in 16% of cases. Utilization (stethoscope connected to earpiece) ranged from a low of 11% of cases to a high of 45%, depending on the institution. Overall, providers were listening via an anesthetic stethoscope in only 28% of anesthetics. Conclusions: Our data suggest infrequent utilization of esophageal and precordial stethoscopes in anesthesia training institutions. Thus, current anesthesia training may be fostering an environment where providers overlook a valuable minimally invasive, and cost-effective continuous monitor of patients' dynamic vital organ function.
- Anesthesia, safety
- monitoring, esophageal stethoscope
- monitoring, safety