Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

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


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


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


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


An ideal non-invasive monitoring system should provide accurate and reproducible measurements of clinically relevant variables that enables clinicians to guide therapy accordingly. The monitor should be rapid, easy to use, readily available at the bedside, operator-independent, cost-effective and should have a minimal risk and side effect profile for patients. An example is the introduction of pulse oximetry, which has become established for non-invasive monitoring of oxygenation worldwide. A corresponding non-invasive monitoring of hemodynamics and perfusion could optimize the anesthesiological treatment to the needs in individual cases. In recent years several non-invasive technologies to monitor hemodynamics in the perioperative setting have been introduced: suprasternal Doppler ultrasound, modified windkessel function, pulse wave transit time, radial artery tonometry, thoracic bioimpedance, endotracheal bioimpedance, bioreactance, and partial CO2 rebreathing have been tested for monitoring cardiac output or stroke volume. The photoelectric finger blood volume clamp technique and respiratory variation of the plethysmography curve have been assessed for monitoring fluid responsiveness. In this manuscript meta-analyses of non-invasive monitoring technologies were performed when non-invasive monitoring technology and reference technology were comparable. The primary evaluation criterion for all studies screened was a Bland-Altman analysis. Experimental and pediatric studies were excluded, as were all studies without a non-invasive monitoring technique or studies without evaluation of cardiac output/stroke volume or fluid responsiveness. Most studies found an acceptable bias with wide limits of agreement. Thus, most non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring technologies cannot be considered to be equivalent to the respective reference method. Studies testing the impact of non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring technologies as a trend evaluation on outcome, as well as studies evaluating alternatives to the finger for capturing the raw signals for hemodynamic assessment, and, finally, studies evaluating technologies based on a flow time measurement are current topics of clinical research.


Surgically induced fire is a life-threatening hazard; this topic has received little attention, although only 3 factors, the so-called fire triad, are needed for surgical fires to occur: an oxidizer, fuel and an ignition source. This systematic review aims to determine the impact of each component and to delegate every staff member an area of responsibility, thus ensuring patient health through prevention or protection. The trial was registered in Prospero CRD42018082656. A database search of eligible, preferably evidence-based studies was conducted. The Robins-I tool for assessing the risk of bias revealed a moderate risk of bias. Due to insufficient data, the main findings of these studies could not be summarized through a quantitative synthesis; therefore, a qualitative synthesis is outlined. The results are summarized according to the roles of the fire triad and discussed. (1) Role of the oxidizer: oxygen is the key component of the triad. Safe oxygen delivery is important. An oxygen-enriched environment (ORE) is caused by draping and is preferably prevented by suctioning. Fuel characteristics are affected by varying oxygen concentrations. (2) Role of the ignition source: electrocauterization is the most common ignition source, followed by lasers. Less common ignition sources include fiberoptic cables and preparative solutions, petrol or acetone. (3) Role of the fuel: surgical drapes are one of the most common fuels for surgical fires followed by the patient’s hair and skin. Skin preparation solutions are among the less common fuels. Many fire-resistant materials have been tested that do not remain fire resistant in ORE. It was concluded that the main problem is defining the real extent of this hazard. Exact numbers and exact condition protocols are needed; therefore, standardized registration of every fire and future studies with much evidence are needed. Immediate prevention consists of close attention to patient safety to prevent surgical fires from happening.


Sepsis-induced changes in pharmacokinetic parameters are a well-known problem in intensive care medicine. Dosing of antibiotics in this setting is therefore challenging. Alterations to the substance-specific kinetics of anti-infective substances have an effect on the distribution and excretion processes in the body. Increased clearance and an increased distribution volume (Vd) and particularly compromized organ function with reduced antibiotic elimination are often encountered in patients with sepsis. Renal replacement treatment, which is frequently used in intensive care medicine, represents a substantial intervention in this system. Current international guidelines recommend individualized dosing strategies and adaptation of doses according to measured serum levels and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) parameters as concepts to optimize anti-infective therapy in the critically ill. Likewise, the recommendation to adjust the administration form of beat-lactam antibiotics to prolonged or continuous infusion can be found increasingly more often in the literature. This article reviews the background of the individual dosing in intensive care patients and their applicability to the clinical routine.


Palliative sedation (PS) serves as a therapeutic option in cases of otherwise intractable suffering. As the use of sedative and hypnotic medication in many diverse situations is a core competency of anesthesiology, anesthesiologists are confronted with questions of sedative therapy at the end of life in institutions for specialized palliative care, in intensive care units and intermediate care wards. In recent years a number of guidelines have been published internationally but so far no official guidelines exist in Germany. The most recognized document is the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) framework on PS. This project aims to develop a German language template for the preparation, application, documentation and evaluation of PS according to the current frameworks, especially the EAPC framework on PS.


For cardiac surgery patients who were employed prior to surgery, the return to their professional life is of special importance. In addition to medical reasons, such as pre-existing conditions, the success of the operation or postoperative course and patient-intrinsic reasons, which can be assessed with the Sense of Coherence (SOC) scale by Antonovsky, may also play a role in the question of a possible return into working life.


The discovery of barbituric acid and research on its derivatives have long been of importance in advancements in modern anesthesia. Decades of clinical use of barbiturates worldwide and their abuse has led to an enormous amount of knowledge. Thiopental and methohexital are ultra-short acting derivatives of barbiturates. Their clinical application has been accompanied by an enormous increase in the knowledge of the pharmacology of cerebrally active drugs, in particular gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAA) receptor and GABA-induced effects on nerve cell membranes. Despite the development of newer substances, thiopental still has a firm place in clinical applications. Currently it is mainly used in obstetrics for induction of cesarean sections under general anesthesia. A disadvantage, when properly used to induce anesthesia, is usually only the prolonged elimination kinetics of barbiturates. It is beneficial that barbiturates do not require side effect provoking solubilizers.