Anesthesia Deaths Drop Sharply
Although many patients fear dying while under anesthesia or immediately after having it, the death rate under those circumstances has dramatically decreased over the past 50 years, according to researchers.
Canadian researchers reported that worldwide, most of the decreased death rates were seen in developed countries. Overall, there was a 90 percent drop in deaths since before the 1970s.
Before the 1970s, 10,603 people died out of every million surgeries worldwide, while in the 1990s and 2000s, deaths during or within 24 to 48 hours of surgery dropped to 1,176 people per million worldwide, according to the study. The experts analyzed 87 studies of 21.4 million cases globally over a 60-year period.
They said that the sharp drop had occurred even in the midst of more complicated and riskier surgery being performed these days. Lead researcher Daniel Bainbridge, of the University of Western Ontario, said the decrease in deaths could be attributed to better drugs and equipment as well as more thorough training of ctors.
But Bainbridge said that further efforts are needed to make anesthesia even safer, especially in developing countries.