A new worldwide data, complied from 87 studies, shows dramatic decline in post-anesthetic deaths as much as 90 percent since before the 1970s.
During the same period, the risk of dying from any cause within 48 hours of surgery has decreased by 88 percent. The study covered outcomes in both developed and developing countries, with the findings published in the current issue of the high-profile journal The Lancet
The study calls for use of evidence-based interventions to reduce the disparities between outcomes in higher and lower income countries. It also makes the point that although significant progress has been made, there is more that can be done.
"Although anesthetic mortality remains low compared with traffic fatalities or suicide, it still remains high compared with death caused by air travel, which is a commonly used yardstick to measure risk," says Dr. Bainbridge.