Patients are the focus as new anesthesia research priorities are identified

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A national project has brought patients and clinicians together to identify areas that future anesthesia research in Canada should address. The Canadian Anesthesia Research Priority Setting Partnership (CAR-PSP) has compiled a Top 10 list of shared priorities for research in anesthesia and perioperative care in Canada.

Most Canadians will experience at least one surgery in their lifetime. In 2015-16, there were approximately 1.47 million inpatient surgical procedures conducted in Canadian hospitals. Despite these numbers the large body of knowledge and diverse experience that these patients have is rarely drawn upon.

“Recovering from the surgical procedure was easier than the recovery from anesthesia,” says Linda Wilhelm, the recipient of fourteen major surgeries to repair and restore joint function due to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. “It made the prospect of surgery more terrifying than it already was.  Patients need to be part of the research priority planning so that the lived experience is part of the dialogue.”

The CAR-PSP identified questions such as:

  • How can anesthesiologists improve pain control after surgery?
  • What is the impact of reducing opioids during anesthesia on patient outcomes and opioid dependence after surgery?
  • What are the common long-term side effects of anesthesia after surgery?

“Involving patients in the research process, from start to finish, and identifying their priorities helps to identify the right research questions and ensure the questions we ask are relevant and credible in real life settings,” says Dr. Dolores McKeen, Chief, Women’s & Obstetric Anesthesia at the IWK Health Centre and project lead.  “That allows for optimizing patient outcomes and focuses research directly on issues important to Canadian patients and societal needs.”

The complete study can be found on the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia.