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Review Highlights Anesthetic Implications of Ebola Virus

Limited data relating to Ebola care; use of personal protection equipment important, even in emergencies

THURSDAY, Jan. 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Recommendations are presented for anesthetic care in patients with Ebola virus disease and published online Dec. 30 in Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Andres Missair, M.D., from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to identify key areas of anesthetic care affected by Ebola virus disease. Secondary-source data were included from government organizations and scientific societies. Twenty articles met the criteria for information related to inpatient Ebola virus disease management or animal virology as primary and secondary sources, and nine articles met the criteria as tertiary sources.

The researchers found that there were limited data relating to care of Ebola patients. Data from animal studies and from tuberculosis patients could provide a basis for initial recommendations. The use of personal protection equipment (PPE) was deemed essential for preventing Ebola transmission; guidelines for PPE should be adhered to, even in emergencies. Ebola patients rarely undergo surgery but may require other types of invasive procedures, including airway intubation. Steps should be taken to reduce transmission risk; alternatives to general anesthesia may help reduce the risk of transmission.

“Although there is a significant lack of scientific data, our search of the current literature identified some strategies that may be helpful to protect anesthesia staff from acquiring the virus while enabling them to provide appropriate medical care to their patients,” the authors write.

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