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Scoping review of mode of anaesthesia in emergency surgery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e17-e25
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 5 Jan 2020


Emergency surgery encompasses more than 50 per cent of the surgical workload; however, research efforts are disproportionally low. The mode of anaesthesia used during emergency surgery may affect outcomes, but the extent of research and the impact of the different modes of anaesthesia used are unclear.

MEDLINE and Embase were searched using scoping review methodology with a rapid systematic search strategy, identifying any study comparing locoregional (local, nerve block, subarachnoid, epidural) anaesthesia with general anaesthesia. All studies describing outcomes of emergency surgery with differing modes of anaesthesia were identified. Excluded were: studies published before 2003, studies enrolling patients aged less than 18 years and studies using sedation only.

Forty-two studies were identified, describing 11 surgical procedures. Most publications were retrospective cohort studies (32). A very broad range of clinical and patient-reported outcomes were described, with wide variation in the outcomes reported in different studies.

Reporting of mode of anaesthesia is inconsistent across different procedures and is often absent. There is a need for directed research efforts to improve the reporting standards of anaesthesia interventions, to understand the role of different modes of anaesthesia in specific emergency surgical procedures, and to standardize outcome reporting using core outcome sets.



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