BACKGROUND: Pediatric anesthesia nowadays requires specific knowledge and expertise. The Anaesthesia PRactice In Children Observational Trial (APRICOT) was a European multicentre study designed for the identification of perioperative severe critical events and management. We aimed at analysing the Italian database in an attempt to determine the practice of anesthesia and the incidence of severe critical events in Italy.
METHODS: Secondary analyses of the database consisted in extracting the raw data from the 25 Italian centres that participated to APRICOT. Descriptive statistics and comparison with the reference data were made for all the variables collected.
RESULTS: Two thousands and eighty seven children were analysed. The Italian cohort represents 6.7% of the overall study population. Most of the children were ASA 1-2 (90.6%) and underwent a surgical procedure (62.8%). In more than 84% of the cases, anesthesia management was performed by an expert with main or frequent activity in pediatric anesthesia with on an average 15 years of experience. The overall incidence of severe critical events was 3% (95% CI 2.2-3.8). The most frequently reported severe critical incidents were of respiratory (2%; CI 1.4-2.6) and cardiovascular origin (0.7%; CI 0.3-1), while drug error, anaphylaxis and bronchial aspiration were very rare. There were no report of perioperative cardiac arrest or patients with neurological damage.
CONCLUSIONS: This secondary analysis demonstrates that the incidence of severe critical incidence was lower in Italy in comparison to that reported for Europe. This low rate of critical events may be related to the high expertise and experience of the anesthesiologists in charge of the children in the Italian centres that participated to APRICOT.