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Journal: Der Anaesthesist

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Correct blood group typing is a prerequisite for transfusion. In most cases blood group determination is without problems; however, in individual cases various factors can complicate blood group determination and sometimes lead to confusing findings. For a better understanding the clinician should have basic knowledge of blood typing. Blood group determination usually covers the AB0 blood groups, Rhesus and Kell systems; in addition, a direct Coombs test and an antibody screening test for the detection of irregular antibodies in the recipient are performed. Confusion of patients, blood samples, results or preparations can lead to severe consequences due to incompatible transfusion and must be prevented. In this context, bedside blood type testing before transfusion is of utmost importance. Problems in laboratory analysis as well as patient-related factors, such as the existence of irregular antibodies against red blood cells can complicate the immunohematology diagnostics. Certain medications, such as daratumumab, lead to a significantly increased complexity in laboratory analyses. Massive transfusions can lead to chimerism with more than one population of circulating red blood cells. Hematopoetic stem cell transplantation can also lead to a change in blood groups as well as chimerism. In addition, there are various other rare causes that can result in difficulties in blood group determination, such as rare blood groups or rare disease-associated phenomena. In the case of problems in blood group determination, early and close cooperation with transfusion medicine is essential for the clinician.

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In 1985 Mallampati et al. published a non-invasive score for the evaluation of airways (Mallampati grading scale, MGS), which originally consisted of only three different classes and has been modified several times. At present it is mostly used in the version of Samsoon and Young consisting of four different classes. Class I: soft palate, fauces, uvula, palatopharyngeal arch visible, class II: soft palate, fauces, uvula visible, class III: soft palate, base of the uvula visible and class IV: soft palate not visible. Nevertheless, other versions of MGS still exist, each having different values for sensitivity and specification. The current opinion is therefore that MGS is no longer useful as a stand-alone predictor but in combination with others it is still part of today’s most relevant guidelines, such as those of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the UK’s Difficult Airway Society (DAS), the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA) and the German Society for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (DGAI) and must therefore be known by anesthetists. Even in times of sophisticated tools for airway management, the procedure remains a high risk, so every anesthetist has to be prepared for and well trained in management of known and unexpected difficult airways. Evaluation of the patient’s airway is a part of modern airway management to prevent problems and reduce risk of hypoxia during the procedure. The theoretical knowledge and practical skills of European anesthetists were evaluated at two international congresses, the German Anesthesia Congress (DAC) and Euroanaesthesia 2014. The DAC is an annual meeting of German speaking anesthetists, hosted by the DGAI. The Euroanaesthesia is the annual European pendant hosted by the ESA. Participation was voluntary and only physicians were allowed to take part. Theory was evaluated by a questionnaire containing open and closed questions for MGS that had to be answered by every participant alone. Apart from theory, a practical evaluation was performed. Every participant had to classify the MGS of a human airway model. The model was identical on both congresses. According to the original publication a checklist containing the factors essential for the correct performance was filled out by a supervising experienced anesthetist. During DAC 2014 n = 267 physicians participated in the study, 22 participants were excluded due to inconsistent answers, incomplete questionnaires or missing practical part. A total of 245 data sets were evaluated. During Euroanaesthesia 2014 n = 298 physicians participated in the study, 68 participants were excluded due to inconsistent answers, incomplete questionnaires or missing practical part and 230 data sets were evaluated. At the DAC the mean age (± SD) was 44.5 ± 9.5 years, 157 (64.1%) were male and 88 (35.9%) were female. Working experience was trainee anesthetist in 16.7% and other participants were experienced anesthetists. At the ESA the mean age (± SD) was 42.4 ± 9.5 years, 133 (57.8%) were male and 97 (42.2%) female. Trainee anesthetists were 15.2%, the rest were experienced anesthetists. The DAC participants knew Mallampati classes 1 (65%) and 4 (45%) better than 2 and 3 and there was no relevant differences to the ESA (close to 30% knew the classes 1-4 here). Classification of the airway model was correct in 62% and 67% at DAC and ESA, respectively. Most participants performed the practical evaluation correctly except the sitting position of the model. In agreement with earlier studies, these results show the lack of knowledge in evaluation of airways according to current guidelines of all relevant societies. This is likely to increase preventable risks for patients as unexpected difficult airway management increases the risk for hypoxia and intubation damage.

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Dehydration in palliative care patients can be associated with increased morbidity and mortality and is nevertheless therapeutically controversial. This article provides an overview of possible causes of dehydration at the end of life and places special emphasis on “terminal” dehydration in the dying. Empirical attitudes of healthcare professionals and persons concerned (patients and relatives) as well as evidence-based findings on “terminal” dehydration are elucidated and the limitations are described. Finally, it is concluded that the appropriate detection of the mode of dehydration (including its underlying pathophysiology) as well as the clinical evaluation of the “reversibility” of the symptoms after fluid therapy, is of central importance in establishing the indications for clinically assisted hydration (CAH).

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There is insufficient knowledge about the hemodynamic effects of cafedrine/theodrenaline (caf/theo), a commercially available drug combination, to treat hypotension.

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A myriad of publications have contributed to an evidence-based approach to airway management in emergency services and admissions in recent years; however, it remains unclear which international registries on airway management in emergency medicine currently exist and how they are characterized concerning inclusion criteria, patient characteristics and definition of complications.

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The intensity of postoperative pain is characterized by large interindividual variability. Furthermore, strong postoperative pain is known to influence physical recovery after surgery. High (preoperative) pain expectation and pre-existing pain, which are associated with pain-related disability (impairing pain) are risk factors for strong postoperative pain. They can be determined with the Lübeck Pain Risk Questionnaire used for the first time in this study. The aim of this study was to explore the hypothesis that patients with a combination of the characteristics (1) preoperative impairing pain and (2) high pain expectation are more likely to have strong postoperative pain. Patients with these characteristics represent a unique group of patients and are more likely to develop distinct postoperative pain and can therefore be characterized as a risk group.

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It is mandatory for hospitals in Germany to employ infection control physicians and have an external consultation. The recommended coverage has substantially increased in the last years. Typically, infection control physicians are specialists for hygiene and environmental medicine and/or for microbiology. As there is already a shortage of these specialists, a curricular educational program in infection control was developed by the German Medical Association in 2011. This program addresses specialists of different clinical disciplines. It covers a period of 24 months and includes 200 h of courses, divided into 6 modules. In addition, 7 weeks of internships must be absolved in hospital hygiene, in a microbiological laboratory and in the public health service. During the program, the trainee must be accompanied by a qualified supervisor, who is a specialist in hygiene. The aim of this article is to describe the current status of this program.

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One of the main tasks in every anesthetist’s routine clinical practice is securing the airway. This also includes techniques for lung isolation and one-lung ventilation in thoracic surgery and in intensive care medicine. The anesthesiologist has various methods available to achieve one-lung ventilation. This article presents the most commonly used methods for lung isolation. These include the double lumen tube, the bronchus blockers by Arndt and Cohen, the EZ blocker, the Uniblocker, the Univent tube and the VivaSight-DL™. The effects of the one-lung ventilation are not described in detail and for this the reader should refer to the appropriate literature. This article is intended to provide an overview of the various possibilities for lung separation, especially for physicians in continued medical education and also for physicians who rarely use these procedures.

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Ketamine and midazolam form the endpoint of a series of articles about intravenous induction of anesthesia . Both substances can be used as single induction hypnotic drugs; however, in practice, this is unusual. Both substances, with the exception of a few very specific indications and clinical situations, are more frequently used in combination or with one of the more common alternatives propofol, barbiturates and etomidate. The reasons are the activity and side effects of both substances and their positive characteristics are used more as a supplement. In the concluding comparison the five discussed induction hypnotics are judged against each other. The use in certain clinical constellations and in special patient populations is evaluated individually for each substance. It is highlighted which drug appears most appropriate in which situation. As methohexital is nowadays only administered in very few clinical situations, this substance is not included in the comparative assessment.

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Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (eCPR) may be considered as a rescue attempt for highly selected patients with refractory cardiac arrest and potentially reversible etiology. Currently there are no randomized, controlled studies on eCPR, and valid predictors of benefit and outcome which might guide the indication for eCPR are lacking. Currently selection criteria and procedures differ across hospitals and standardized algorithms are lacking. Based on expert opinion, the present consensus statement provides a proposal for a standardized treatment algorithm for eCPR.