The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation improves patient safety

A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to

The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) is celebrating its 25th anniversary. APSF is a patient advocate organization whose mission is to improve the safety of patients during anesthesia care by encouraging and conducting: safety research and education; patient safety programs and campaigns; and the national and international exchange of information and ideas.

“APSF has had a profound impact on the anesthesia patient safety movement,” said American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) President Mark A. Warner, M.D. “On behalf of ASA, I thank APSF for its many years of dedicated research and education to help improve safety for patients around the world. We look forward to the advances APSF will contribute to during the next 25 years.”

APSF focuses on several patient-safety initiatives, including adverse anesthesia events, anesthesia information management systems, fire and medication safety, technology training and much more. Its latest focus has been on reducing the number of adverse events related to drug-induced respiratory depression.

Last month, APSF sponsored a conference to discuss various monitoring strategies to help detect postoperative respiratory depression in patients who receive opioids for pain control or sedation. Health care providers, insurers, regulatory agencies and families of injured patients from across the nation gathered to discuss the issue.

The conference concluded that the continuous electronic monitoring of oxygenation and ventilation, with available and developing technology, offers the opportunity for prompt improvement in patient safety. Since it is difficult to predict which patients are susceptible to respiratory depression, the conference also recommended that all patients who receive opioids for acute pain control in the postoperative period be monitored.

For more information on APSF, please visit

Robert K. Stoelting is President of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation.

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