Background and objective: In October 2000, we conducted a national postal survey of consultant day case anaesthetists in the UK to explore the range and variation in the practice of anaesthetizing a patient for day case surgery (paediatrics, urology and orthopaedics). The survey was carried out as part of a larger study that comprised a major two-centre randomized controlled trial designed to investigate the costs and outcome of several anaesthetic techniques during day care surgery in paediatric and adult patients (cost-effectiveness study of anaesthesia in day case surgery). We report the findings of this national survey of adult urology and orthopaedic day case anaesthetic practice in the UK.
Methods: The survey used a structured postal questionnaire and collected data on the duration of the surgical procedure; the use of premedication; the anaesthetic agents used for induction and maintenance; the fresh gas flows used for anaesthesia; the use of antiemetics; and the administration of local anaesthesia and analgesia.
Results: The overall response rate for the survey was 74% (63% for urology, 67% for orthopaedics). The survey indicated the following practice in adult urology and adult orthopaedic day case surgery: 6 and 12% used premedication; propofol was the preferred induction agent (96 and 97%) and isoflurane the preferred maintenance agent (56 and 58%); 32 and 41% used prophylactic antiemetics; 86 and 93% used a laryngeal mask.
Conclusions: This survey identifies the variation in current clinical practice in adult day surgery anaesthesia in the UK and discusses this variation in the context of current published evidence.