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Are Anesthesia Residency Programs Failing Regional Anesthesia? The Past, Present, and Future
  1. Dan J. Kopacz, M.D.* and
  2. Donald L. Bridenbaugh, M.D.**
  1. Presented in part at the 1992 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia, Tampa, Florida, March 26-29, 1992.
  2. From the Department of Anesthesiology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington.
  3. *Staff Anesthesiologist.
  4. **Emeritus Anesthesiologist.
  1. Address correspondence to Dan J. Kopacz, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology, Virginia Mason Clinic, 1100 Ninth Avenue, B2-AN, P.O. Box 900, Seattle, WA 98111.


Background. A survey of anesthesia training programs in 1980 reported the use of a regional anesthetic technique in 21.3% of cases. Since that time, numerous changes have occurred in anesthesia residency programs. This survey was conducted to assess the impact these changes have had on the use and teaching of regional anesthetic techniques in residency training programs.

Methods. All anesthesia residency program directors were requested to send blinded copies of their residents’ 1989-1990 American Board of Anesthesiology Annual Training Report Forms. Data from responding programs were compared to similar data from 1980, and analyzed for factors expected to influence the use of regional anesthesia during training.

Results. The use of regional anesthesia in residency training programs has increased from 21.3% in 1980 to 29.8% in 1990, primarily because of a two-fold rise in the use of epidural anesthesia. The use of regional anesthesia is strongly correlated with a resident’s exposure to obstetric anesthesia and pain consultations. Wide variability between residency programs remains.

Conclusion. Some training programs continue to fail to provide adequate regional anesthesia exposure to train residents fully in these techniques, despite the overall increased use of regional anesthesia.

  • Education
  • residency programs
  • specialty training
  • anesthetic techniques
  • regional.

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