Anaesthesia for emergency and elective hip surgery: improving patient outcomes.

Kearns, Rachel Joyce (2015) Anaesthesia for emergency and elective hip surgery: improving patient outcomes. MD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis is presented in two parts. The first is concerned with the management of patients undergoing repair of hip fracture while the second part describes a randomised controlled trial examining analgesic options after total hip replacement.

Musculoskeletal disease has the fourth greatest impact on the health of the world’s population (when both death and disability are considered) and is the second most common cause of disability globally. Disability due to musculoskeletal disease has risen by 45% over the last 20 years compared to the 33% average increase seen across other disease groups. This is likely to increase unless action is taken to resolve some of the problems. This has been recognised by The European Parliament Leading Committee on the Horizon 2020 Programme (the European Union Research Framework Programme) resulting in the identification of rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions as a priority for research over the next 7 years.

Glasgow Royal Infirmary is a tertiary referral centre for orthopaedic and trauma surgery undertaking a high volume of both elective and emergency procedures each year. I wished to investigate current standards of care relating to patients undergoing emergency surgery and to establish whether by benchmarking our practice against national data, we could identify areas for improvement. Hip fracture repair was chosen for analysis as it is a common, serious and costly condition that occurs in an increasingly elderly, frail and dependent patient population. Hip fracture is a worldwide concern and a significant public health challenge.

Important patient outcomes such as time to theatre, 30 day mortality and length of stay were analysed and compared against national audit data. These data compared favourably. Prior to commencing this work, staff members were asked to communicate any opportunities they saw for care to be improved. Certain sub-populations were identified by staff as meriting particular attention. These were patients admitted to ICU and patients taking warfarin. The sub-population of patients who were taking warfarin and required admission for repair of hip fracture were particularly frail and resulted in a number of management challenges for staff. A quality improvement endeavour was employed in order to standardise management, reduce confusion, expedite time to theatre and ensure adequate thromboprophylaxis throughout the peri-operative period. This work resulted in the production of a protocol to guide management and is subject to ongoing review and audit.

The role of anaesthesia in the performance of elective total hip replacement surgery was also investigated. Total hip replacement is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United Kingdom, can result in improved quality of life, and is considered to be cost effective. In Glasgow Royal Infirmary, anaesthesia is most commonly performed using spinal anaesthetic with the addition of an opioid. Spinal opioids, whilst effective, are associated with side-effects of which the most serious is respiratory depression. Other adverse effects such as pruritus and nausea and vomiting may delay recovery and impact upon a patient’s satisfaction with their experience. I carried out a randomised controlled, double blinded trial to assess whether a regional anaesthetic technique (ultrasound guided fascia iliaca block) could be used as an alternative to spinal morphine. This technique has not yet been assessed clinically in the published literature, though it has shown promise as being more reliable when compared to the landmark based technique. A non-inferiority design was employed in order to compare these two techniques. The primary outcome was 24 hour intravenous morphine consumption. After obtaining the necessary approvals from the West of Scotland Research and Ethics Committee and the West of Scotland Research and Development Department, recruitment was commenced in May 2011. Peer review was received from a journal of trial methodology and the protocol was published. Further peer review and funding was received from the European Society for Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy as well as a local peri-operative research fund.

This study shows that ultrasound guided fascia iliaca block is not non-inferior to spinal morphine, or in other words, that ultrasound guided fascia iliaca block is unacceptably worse than spinal morphine in the provision of analgesia after hip replacement. Adverse effects were not statistically significantly different between groups and reassuringly, there were no episodes of respiratory depression or sedation in either group. This study has clear implications for practice and would suggest that spinal morphine remains an effective anaesthetic and analgesic agent in this patient group.

Item Type: Thesis (MD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Total hip replacement, hip fracture, anaesthesia, analgesia, peri-operative care,
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Supervisor's Name: Kinsella, Professor John
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Dr Rachel Kearns
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6757
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2015 15:04
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2015 15:34

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