Features  |   September 2014
The Subspecialty of Ambulatory Anesthesia
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Ambulatory Anesthesia / Features
Features   |   September 2014
The Subspecialty of Ambulatory Anesthesia
ASA Monitor 09 2014, Vol.78, 10-13.
ASA Monitor 09 2014, Vol.78, 10-13.
Because of advances in technology (e.g., short-acting anesthetics and minimally invasive surgical techniques) and changesin remuneration,1  ambulatory anesthesia comprises greater than 70 percent of all anesthetics administered in the United States (Figure 1). In 2006, 53 million surgical and non-surgical procedures were performed in an ambulatory setting, with 57 percent performed in a hospital as opposed to a freestanding center.1  This relationship has remained essentially constant through 2013 (Figure 2).
Although ambulatory anesthesia is the most widely practiced subspecialty of anesthesia in the nation, relatively few physicians identify themselves as ambulatory anesthesiologists by membership in a professional society. The Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists has 5,000 members2  and the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine has 4,000 members,3  but the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia (SAMBA) has only 1,600 members.4  There is a perception that anesthetics administered in outpatient centers simply draw from a common knowledge base to which nothing unique is added because of the ambulatory setting. But ambulatory anesthesiologists and post-anesthesia care nurses will tell you that certain methods result in better outcomes and certain anesthesiologists achieve those outcomes more often than others. Optimal results in the ambulatory setting are a product of specialized knowledge and techniques.
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