Australasian perfusion incident survey

Jenkins, O.F.; Morris, R.; Simpson, J.M.
September 1997
Perfusion;1997, Vol. 12 Issue 5, p279
Academic Journal
An anonymous postal survey about perfusion accidents, incidents and safety procedures was conducted retrospectively in all identifiable cardiac surgery units in Australia and New Zealand over an 18-month period from January 1994 to July 1995. Responses were received from 69% of all eligible perfusionists representing 39 of 42 operating units. The most frequent incidents reported were heater/cooler failure (43% of respondents), urgent return to bypass following circuit disposal (38%), air embolus in a circuit not reaching the patient (24%), accidental cannula displacement (28%), protamine-induced circuit clotting postbypass (20%), hospital power failure (31%) and oxygenator membrane leaks (24%). There were 11 serious injuries and 10 deaths reported, giving an overall rate of serious injury or death of one in 1300 cases. However, the perfusion-related injury rate was lower, at one injury or death per 2500 perfusions. The use of safety equipment was widespread with low-level alarms in use by all respondents, bubble detectors by 74%, arterial line filters by 82% and written or computerized checklists by 80%. While the rate of injury was lower than that reported in surveys done elsewhere, the rate of reporting of incidents was greater and this may reflect a changing attitude of perfusionists to accountability in the delivery of their services. The data suggest that the level of safety in perfusion in Australasia is high but that improved incident reporting may help to further improve practices.


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