Background The term “Wrong-Site Surgery (WSS)” is commonly associated with surgical procedures; however, The Joint Commission (TJC) considers any invasive procedure, not just a surgical procedure, performed on the wrong side, at the wrong site, or on the wrong patient to be a WSS. For anesthesia providers, this means that a wrong-site nerve block (WSNB) also constitutes a WSS and would be considered a sentinel event by TJC. In an attempt to combat WSNB, the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine published guidelines in 2014 recommending the use of a preprocedural checklist before performing regional blocks. The effectiveness of such a checklist, however, to reduce the occurrence of WSNB has not yet been demonstrated. We hypothesized that the introduction of a preprocedural checklist specific for regional anesthesia would be associated with a lower rate of WSNB procedures.
Methods A retrospective review was performed to compare the incidence of WSNB 2 years before, to 6 years after the implementation of a preprocedural checklist specific to regional anesthesia.
Results Prior to checklist implementation, 4 WSNB events occurred during 10 123 procedures (3.95 per 10 000 (95% CI 1.26 to 9.53). Following implementation, WSNB events occurred during 35 890 procedures (0 per 10 000 (95% CI 0 to 0.84)); p=0.0023.
Conclusions Implementation of a regional anesthesia specific preprocedural checklist was associated with a significantly lower incidence of WSNB procedures. While prospective controlled studies would be required to demonstrate causation, this study suggests that for regional anesthesia procedures, a preprocedural checklist may positively impact patient safety.
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Presented at Interim data from this work were presented at the 2018 World Congress on Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine in New York, NY, April 19–21, 2018.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval Institutional review board (IRB) approval was obtained prior to study initiation and the need for informed consent was formally waived (Wake Forest University Health Sciences, # 00048477)