BACKGROUND: In patients who receive a nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking drug (NMBD) during anesthesia, undetected postoperative residual neuromuscular block is a common occurrence that carries a risk of potentially serious adverse events, particularly postoperative pulmonary complications. There is abundant evidence that residual block can be prevented when real-time (quantitative) neuromuscular monitoring with measurement of the train-of-four ratio is used to guide NMBD administration and reversal. Nevertheless, a significant percentage of anesthesiologists fail to use quantitative devices or even conventional peripheral nerve stimulators routinely. Our hypothesis was that a contributing factor to the nonutilization of neuromuscular monitoring was anesthesiologists' overconfidence in their knowledge and ability to manage the use of NMBDs without such guidance. METHODS: We conducted an Internet-based multilingual survey among anesthesiologists worldwide. We asked respondents to answer 9 true/false questions related to the use of neuromuscular blocking drugs. Participants were also asked to rate their confidence in the accuracy of each of their answers on a scale of 50% (pure guess) to 100% (certain of answer). RESULTS: Two thousand five hundred sixty persons accessed the website; of these, 1629 anesthesiologists from 80 countries completed the 9-question survey. The respondents correctly answered only 57% of the questions. In contrast, the mean confidence exhibited by the respondents was 84%, which was significantly greater than their accuracy. Of the 1629 respondents, 1496 (92%) were overconfident. CONCLUSIONS: The anesthesiologists surveyed expressed overconfidence in their knowledge and ability to manage the use of NMBDs. This overconfidence may be partially responsible for the failure to adopt routine perioperative neuromuscular monitoring. When clinicians are highly confident in their knowledge about a procedure, they are less likely to modify their clinical practice or seek further guidance on its use.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine