Using critical care physicians to deliver anesthesia and boost surgical caseload in austere environments: the Critical Care General Anesthesia Syllabus (CC GAS)

Background
Despite an often severe lack of surgeons and surgical equipment, the rate-limiting step in surgical care for the nearly five billion people living in resource-limited areas is frequently the absence of safe anesthesia. During disaster relief and surgical missions, critical care physicians (CCPs), who are already competent in complex airway and ventilator management, can help address the need for skilled anesthetists in these settings.

Methods
We provided a descriptive analysis that CCPs were trained to provide safe general anesthesia, monitored anesthesia care (MAC), and spinal anesthesia using a specifically designed and simple syllabus.

Results
Six CCPs provided anesthesia under the supervision of a board-certified anesthesiologist for 58 (32%) cases of a total of 183 surgical cases performed by a surgical mission team at St. Luc Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2013, 2017, and 2018. There were no reported complications.

Conclusions
Given CCPs’ competencies in complex airway and ventilator management, a CCP, with minimal training from a simple syllabus, may be able to act as an anesthesiologist-extender and safely administer anesthesia in the austere environment, increasing the number of surgical cases that can be performed. Further studies are necessary to confirm our observation.

Opportunities and challenges for thoracic surgery collaborations in China: a commentary.

Through a unique combination of factors-including a huge population, rapid social development, and concentration of resources in its mega-cities-China is witnessing phenomenal developments in the field of thoracic surgery. Ultra-high-volume centers are emerging that provide fantastic new opportunities for surgical training and clinical research to surgeons in China and partners from other countries. However, there are also particular shortcomings that are limiting clinical and academic developments. To realize the potential and reap the rewards, the challenges posed by these limitations must be overcome. Thoracic surgeons from Europe may be particularly well-placed to achieve this through multi-dimensional exchanges with their Chinese counterparts.