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American Society of Anesthesiologists, Oct. 12-16

Last Updated: October 22, 2013.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting (Anesthesiology 2013)

The annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists was held from Oct. 12 to 16 in San Francisco and attracted approximately 15,000 participants from around the world, including anesthesiologists and other health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the latest advances in the relief of pain and total care of surgical patients prior to, during, and post-surgery.

In one study, David R. Walega, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues found that a nerve treatment using stellate ganglion blockade injections resulted in a 52 percent reduction in moderate to very severe hot flashes for the six month duration of a study. Only 4 percent of the control group saw a reduction. Patients also demonstrated an improvement in objective hot flashes, which was validated by the subjective measures.

"We also identified a 30 percent reduction in depressive symptoms at three weeks and three months in the treatment group, but this decrease in depression was not statistically significant. However, it is likely this trend will become more significant in a larger patient population," said Walega. "We look forward to studying this effect further in larger studies and validating the mechanism by which stellate ganglion blocks elicit the effects we found."

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In another study, Billy K. Huh, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues found that the analgesic effect of lidocaine was not meaningful in patients with fibromyalgia who were chronic smokers.

"In those patients who were refractory to currently available treatments for fibromyalgia, we infused lidocaine over an hour period and found that the approach was effective in many patients; a 10 percent improvement in pain levels was experienced," said Huh. "However, we also found that the approach did not work in patients with fibromyalgia who were chronic smokers. While it is unclear as to why the approach does not work in smokers, it can be theorized it could be that chronic smoking decreases blood flow and does not allow the lidocaine to reach the painful area."

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In a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, Ashish C. Sinha, M.D., Ph.D., of the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues evaluated the efficacy of ondansetron in combination with aprepitant (60 patients) in reducing vomiting after bariatric surgery as compared to ondansetron alone (60 patients).

"We found that in the 60 patients who received a combination of ondansetron and aprepitant there was a 3 percent incidence of vomiting as compared to 15 percent in those who received ondansetron alone," said Sinha.

According to Sinha, aprepitant is an antiemetic substance that belongs to a class of drugs called substance P antagonists, or SPA. It mediates its effect by blocking the neurokinin-1 receptor in the body.

"Combining aprepitant with ondansetron creates synergy and decreases postoperative vomiting by 80 percent. This strategy suggests that patients having other types of surgery, who would have serious impact with postoperative vomiting, such as plastic, eye, or neurosurgery might benefit with a protocol similar to the one used in this study," said Sinha. "More research, on different patient and surgery types needs to be conducted to decide the viability of this approach."

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ASA: Paravertebral Block Ups Breast Cancer Surgery Outcomes

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing breast cancer surgery, paravertebral block combined with general anesthesia is associated with decreased local and metastatic recurrence and lower breast cancer-related mortality, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held from Oct. 12 to 16 in San Francisco.

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ASA: Serum Fatty Acids, Metabolites As Cancer Biomarkers

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Serum fatty acids and their metabolites may be useful screening biomarkers in lung and prostate cancer, and useful for evaluating prognosis and cancer recurrence after potentially curative surgery, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held from Oct. 12 to 16 in San Francisco.

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ASA: High-Protein Drink Improves Satisfaction in Labor

MONDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- For women in labor, high-protein drink supplementation is associated with improved patient satisfaction compared with ice chips/water, and does not increase incidence of nausea or emesis, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held from Oct. 12 to 16 in San Francisco.

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