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Journal: Der Anaesthesist


In 2015 the German Society for Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine (GTÜM) and the Swiss Underwater and Hyperbaric Medical Society (SUHMS) published the updated guidelines on diving accidents 2014-2017. These multidisciplinary guidelines were developed within a structured consensus process by members of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), the Sports Divers Association (VDST), the Naval Medical Institute (SchiffMedInst), the Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Building Trade (BG BAU), the Association of Hyperbaric Treatment Centers (VDD) and the Society of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (DGAUM). This consensus-based guidelines project (development grade S2k) with a representative group of developers was conducted by the Association of Scientific Medical Societies in Germany. It provides information and instructions according to up to date evidence to all divers and other lay persons for first aid recommendations to physician first responders and emergency physicians as well as paramedics and all physicians at therapeutic hyperbaric chambers for the diagnostics and treatment of diving accidents. To assist in implementing the guideline recommendations, this article summarizes the rationale, purpose and the following key action statements: on-site 100 % oxygen first aid treatment, still patient positioning and fluid administration are recommended. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) recompression remains unchanged the established treatment in severe cases with no therapeutic alternatives. The basic treatment scheme recommended for diving accidents is hyperbaric oxygenation at 280 kPa. For quality management purposes there is a need in the future for a nationwide register of hyperbaric therapy.

Concepts: Oxygen, Medicine, First aid, Decompression sickness, Diving medicine, Hyperbaric medicine, Oxygen toxicity, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society


The mortality of patients with sepsis and septic shock is still unacceptably high. An effective antibiotic treatment within 1 h of recognition of sepsis is an important target of sepsis treatment. Delays lead to an increase in mortality; therefore, structured treatment concepts form a rational foundation, taking relevant diagnostic and treatment steps into consideration. In addition to the assumed focus and individual risks of each patient, local resistance patterns and specific problem pathogens must be taken into account for selection of anti-infection treatment. Many pathophysiological alterations influence the pharmacokinetics of antibiotics during sepsis. The principle of standard dosing should be abandoned and replaced by an individual treatment approach with stronger weighting of the pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) index of the substance groups. Although this is not yet the clinical standard, prolonged (or continuous) infusion of beta-lactam antibiotics and therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) can help to achieve defined PK targets. Prolonged infusion is sufficient without TDM but for continuous infusion TDM is basically necessary. A further argument for individual PK/PD-oriented antibiotic approaches is the increasing number of infections due to multidrug resistant pathogens (MDR) in the intensive care unit. For effective treatment antibiotic stewardship teams (ABS team) are becoming more established. Interdisciplinary cooperation of the ABS team with infectiologists, microbiologists and clinical pharmacists leads not only to a rational administration of antibiotics but also has a positive influence on the outcome. The gold standards for pathogen detection are still culture-based detection and microbiological resistance testing for the various antibiotic groups. Despite the rapid investigation time, novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based procedures for pathogen identification and resistance determination, are currently only an adjunct to routine sepsis diagnostics due to the limited number of studies, high costs and limited availability. In complicated septic courses with multiple anti-infective treatment or recurrent sepsis, PCR-based procedures can be used in addition to therapy monitoring and diagnostics. Novel antibiotics represent potent alternatives in the treatment of MDR infections. Due to the often defined spectrum of pathogens and the practically absent resistance, they are suitable for targeted treatment of severe MDR infections (therapy escalation).

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Antibiotic resistance, Intensive care medicine, Antibiotic, Penicillin, Beta-lactam antibiotic, Sepsis


The application of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) is gaining more and more importance in daily clinical practice. The use of IONM allows the localization of neural structures and to control functioning of the peripheral and central nervous systems in anesthetized patients. This enables surgeons to identify and to protect neural structures and cerebral areas. The use of IONM also enables anesthesiologists to adjust anesthesia and cardiopulmonary therapy to the individual needs of the patient. Thereby, it may be possible to reduce the incidence of postoperative delirium and the incidence of postoperative cognitive deficits. To exploit the full potential anesthesiologists and surgeons must be able to use the methods of IONM safely and understand the results; therefore, basic knowledge of the technology, options and limitations of IONM is necessary. It is also important to be aware of the influence of anesthetics on the methods of IONM. Total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) is the anesthetic method of choice, because it has only minimal influence on IONM methods. It is important to avoid bolus injections of hypnotics to achieve stable blood concentrations. Long- acting neuromuscular blocking agents should be avoided, because they disturb the signals of electromyography and motor-evoked potentials. By using IONM anesthesiologists and surgeons can identify changes in the function of the peripheral and central nervous system prior to irreversible damage.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Psychology, Brain, Surgery, Neuroscience, Anesthesia, Anesthetic


In naturally occurring numbers the frequencies of digits 1-9 in the leading position are counterintuitively distributed because the frequencies of occurrence are unequal. Benford-Newcomb’s law describes the expected distribution of these frequencies. It was previously shown that known fraudulent articles consistently violated this law.

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Epistemology, Distribution, Computer program, Benford's law


In 2015 practice management guidelines on prehospital emergency anesthesia in adults were published in Germany. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether emergency physicians follow these guidelines in daily practice and to assess their level of experience with the use of anesthetic agents.


During the last 20 years Austrian prehospital emergency medical services (EMS) have significantly improved. The structure and organization of Austrian EMS comply with European standards but training requirements for prehospital EMS physicians are insufficient when compared with other countries. Although some EMS systems follow the German or Swiss postgraduate training concepts, the legal requirements in Austria defining the scope of mandatory training for physicians in the prehospital setting are only minimal. Thus, besides board certification as a general practitioner or specialist of any discipline, the only formal requirement is a 1-week theoretical course comprising some manikin simulations. Experience in anesthesia or intensive care medicine is still not mandatory. The Austrian Society of Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care Medicine (ÖGARI) drafted a reform paper in 2009, which was adapted by the Austrian Chamber of Physicians, section of emergency medicine, and subsequently presented to the Austrian Ministry of Health. Due to the slowness of the legislation process, the relevant § 40 of the Austrian Physician ’s Act is still unchanged. In the meantime, Austrian specialist training regulations were restructured in 2015 with significant consequences. Due to changes in the residency programs, board certification and subsequent full working permit becomes more difficult to obtain, thus further aggravating the shortage of emergency physicians in Austria. In order to counteract the threatening shortage of prehospital EMS physicians, the ÖGARI section of emergency medicine was requested by the Ministry of Health to develop a reasonable model for how physicians could be qualified and subsequently employed in EMS prior to full board certification. Presently, the Austrian Ministry of Health, the Chamber of Physicians and medical societies are in discussion on whether this approach might fit into the legal framework. This manuscript details the development and present status as well as key points of an ongoing discussion on how high-quality EMS care in Austria can be safeguarded in the future or could even make it impossible.


Based on the German Transfusion Law, the periodically updated guidelines “Richtlinien zur Gewinnung von Blut und Blutbestandteilen und zur Anwendung von Blutprodukten” (“Hämotherapierichtlinien”) are intended to provide the current knowledge and state of the art of blood transfusion practice in Germany. The novel update 2017 contains relevant changes for blood donation, especially the extension of the exclusion period of persons at risk for sexually transmitted HBV, HCV and HIV diseases to 12 months. Moreover, the guidelines provide several changes relevant to blood transfusion practice in anesthesiology, such as: all autologous hemotherapy procedures including normovolemic hemodilution, cell saver, and autologous blood donation and transfusion require formal registration at the regulatory authority. A special detailed protocol is required for every cell saver use. A formal quality control procedure for cell saver use is necessary at least every 3 months. Retransfusion of unprocessed shed blood is generally not permitted. Guidance is provided for the clinical situation of lacking consent for blood transfusion in emergency situations (under certain circumstances blood transfusion may still be allowed). For the first time, the concept of “patient blood management” is explicitly mentioned and recommended in the guidelines. Especially the novel regulations regarding autologous blood use impose new challenges in clinical practice in anesthesiology.


Acute pain management is an interprofessional and interdisciplinary task and requires a good and trustful cooperation between stakeholders. Despite provisions in Germany according to which medical treatment can only be rendered by a formally qualified physician (“Arztvorbehalt”), a physician does not have to carry out every medical activity in person. Under certain conditions, some medical activities can be delegated to medical auxiliary personnel but they need to be (1) instructed, (2) supervised and (3) checked by the physician himself; however, medical history, diagnostic assessment and evaluation, indications, therapy planning (e.g. selection, dosage), therapeutic decisions (e. g. modification or termination of therapy) and obtaining informed consent cannot be delegated. With respect to drug therapy, monitoring of the therapy remains the personal responsibility of the physician, while the actual application of medication can be delegated. From a legal perspective, the current practice needs to be stressed about what is within the mandatory requirements and what is not when medical activities are delegated to non-medical staff. The use of standards of care improves treatment quality but like any medical treatment it must be based on the physician’s individual assessment and indications for each patient and requires personal contact between physician and patient. Delegation on the ward and in acute pain therapy requires the authorization of the delegator to give instructions in the respective setting. The transfer of non-delegable duties to non-medical personnel is regarded as medical malpractice.


Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia, which is defined as a core body temperature of less than 36.0 °C, can have serious consequences in surgery patients. These include cardiac complications, increased blood loss, wound infections and postoperative shivering; therefore, the scientific evidence that inadvertent perioperative hypothermia should be avoided is undisputed and several national guidelines have been published summarizing the scientific evidence and recommending specific procedures. The German AWMF guidelines were the first to emphasize the importance of prewarming for surgery patients to avoid inadvertant perioperative hypothermia; however, in contrast to intraoperative warming, prewarming is so far not sufficiently implemented in clinical practice in many hospitals. Furthermore, a recent study has questioned the effectiveness of prewarming.

Concepts: Scientific method, Clinical trial, Blood, Hospital, Physician, Hypothermia, Fever, Heat transfer


Critical incidents in difficult airway management are still a main contributory factor for perioperative morbidity and mortality. Many national associations have developed algorithms for management of these time critical events. For implementation of these algorithms the provision of technical requirements and procedure-related training are essential. Severe airway incidents are rare events and clinical experience of the individual operators is limited; therefore, simulation is an adequate instrument for training and evaluating difficult airway algorithms.

Concepts: Algorithm, Mortality rate, Hilbert space, Simulation, Operations research, Placebo, Computer simulation, Discrete mathematics