The anaesthetist's role from the patient's perspective
Introduction: Despite advances in anesthesiology over the past decades, patient knowledge regarding the specialty appears to be scant.
Objective: To determine the degree of knowledge among patients about anaesthesiology and the role of anaesthetists, and to identify the demographic factors associated with greater knowledge about the specialty.
Materials and method: Prospective study based on a survey questionnaire conducted in a Level III hospital in Spain, in which all the patients coming for preoperative assessment during a two-week period were interviewed. The survey included questions on different aspects of the specialty covering the preoperative and intraoperative contexts, as well as other areas of anaesthesiology.
Results: Overall, 306 patients were included in the study Of the population interviewed, 80% believe that anaesthetists are specialized physicians. Many patients did not understand the role of the anaesthetist in the treatment of intraoperative medical conditions, the importance of the pre-anaesthesia visit, or the role of the anaesthetist outside the operating room.
Conclusions: The results show that patient knowledge regarding anaesthesia and the role of the anaesthetist is scant, the level of education being the only variable that shows differences between the groups. We believe that anaesthetists and related scientific organizations must try to communicate more information about the speciality in order to help improve health education in the general population, and increase the knowledge about anaesthesiology.
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