The Particulars: Understanding factors associated with anesthetic complications and “near misses” may help prevent perioperative complications and improve patient safety. However, data are lacking on the nature and incidence of perioperative complications and their risk factors at the national level.

Data Breakdown: An analysis of more than 3 million cases from the National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry found that the overall mortality rate among patients who underwent anesthesia was unchanged (0.03%) from 2010 to 2013. However, the percentage of overall adverse events decreased from 11.8% to 4.8% during the study period. Postoperative nausea and vomiting was the most common minor complication, and medication errors were the most common major complication observed in the study.

Take Home Pearls: The rate of adverse events during anesthesia appears to have decreased in recent years. Understanding the factors associated with these events may help in the development of systems designed to improve perioperative healthcare delivery and increase patient safety.