The proportion of regional anesthesia to general anesthesia for orthopedic procedures on the extremities, herniorraphies, urological, and gynecological procedures was studied in 40,803 patients operated between 1978 and 1981 at 61 hospitals in Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Of these procedures 44.3% were performed under brachial plexus blocks, spinal, or epidural anesthesia. Regional anesthesia was more frequently used than general anesthesia for orthopedic procedures on the lower extremities, hip arthroplasties, prostatic surgery, and pelvic floor repairs by the vaginal approach. The proportion of regional blocks was the same in the three countries. A very wide variation of the proportion of regional anesthesia was found between the participating hospitals. The age distribution was the same for patients operated under regional anesthesia as for those operated under general anesthesia. Local tradition seems to be more important than any other factor in the choice between regional and general anesthesia in Scandinavia today.
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Address reprint requests to Dr. Renck: Department of Anesthesia, Malmö General Hospital, S‐214 01 Malmö, Sweden.