Ann Mary Chacko, Senior Engineer – R&D, Skanray Technologies
Advancements in digital technology are driving a new generation of smart techniques in the anesthesia domain. Device manufacturers are focusing on exploring opportunities to improve the efficiency of anesthetic gas delivery to address the cumulative requirements of extra flexibility, increased patient safety, and improved patient care.
Direct Infusion of Anesthetic Agents
In order to negate the influences of pressure and temperature on anesthetic agents and to guarantee controlled titration, the practice of direct infusion of volatile anesthetics is a modern advancement. In this technology, the device stores anesthetic liquid in a reservoir and travels to a dosing chamber for pressurization. Later, a specific dose of agent is released into a heated vaporizing chamber for vaporization and delivery into the breathing system. This method guarantees higher precision and stability of the set gas concentrations.
Lithium-Based Carbon-Dioxide Absorbents
Soda lime is the conventional CO2 absorbent used in breathing systems. The latest innovation in the CO2 absorbent category is the lithium-based carbon-dioxide absorbents. A solid sheet of lithium-based carbon-dioxide absorbent consists of absorbent powders bound together by a polymer matrix, which can be recycled and reused.
Target Controlled Low-Flow Anesthesia
This technology focuses on optimizing the efficiency of anesthetic delivery by minimizing anesthetic gas waste. Target controlled low-flow anesthesia systems achieve the user set end-tidal percentage by automation of fresh gas flow rate and vaporizer settings. Modern ventilators with target controlled low-flow anesthesia are equipped with a gas consumption data display that can help in mitigating wasteful over-delivery of fresh gas flow.
Anesthesia Information Management Systems (AIMS)
AIMS is designed to record data from the anesthesia machine and to transmit the same to the electronics health record (EHR) in the hospital. AIMS allows the automatic collection, storage, and presentation of patient data. Modern day systems have clinical decision support systems (CDSS) integrated to AIMS to flag improper diagnoses or other issues in a clinical workflow.
Even-though the advancements in anesthesia delivery are moving in the right direction, there is still room for improvement and engineers have a front row seat along with anesthesiologists to continue to drive the innovation.