(UPI) -- An international team of researchers led by a Canadian anesthetist says post-anesthetic deaths declined as much as 90 percent since before the 1970s.
Dr. Daniel Bainbridge, a scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute, an anesthetist at London Health Sciences Centre, and Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University, in London, Ontario, and colleagues analyzed data from 87 studies worldwide.
Bainbridge said despite operating on more high-risk patients, or utilizing more complicated surgeries the likelihood of dying after a general anesthetic dropped by roughly 90 percent.
The study, published in The Lancet, found dying from a general anesthetic dropped from an estimated 357 per million before the 1970s to 34 per million in the 1990s and 2000s.
During the same period, the risk of dying from any cause within 48 hours of surgery has decreased by about 88 percent -- from an estimated 10,603 per million before the 1970s to 1,176 per million in the 1990s and 2000s, Bainbridge said.
"Although this declining pattern was evident in both developing and developed nations, the greatest and most progressive decline has been in developed countries," Bainbridge said in a statement. "Overall rates of perioperative- and anesthetic-related mortality have consistently been much higher in developing countries and remain two to three times higher than in developed nations."
Bainbridge credited better operating room equipment, more precise recognition and treatment of patient disease, safer surgical checklists and strong hospital infrastructure for the progress.
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