Physicians Address Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Issues at Annual Anesthesiology Meeting

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Mark R. Abbruzzese, MD, associate professor of medicine and infectious disease, Georgetown University and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, presented on the topic of the diagnostic process of fungal meningitis.

Four experts in anesthesiology, infectious disease and pain medicine discussed the recent U.S. meningitis outbreak in the late-breaking education panel, “The Fungal Meningitis Crisis,” on Oct. 14. The panel attracted more than 500 attendees as part of the ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2012 annual meeting. 

“As leaders in patient safety, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) remains attentive to the evolving situation,” says ASA chair of the annual meeting committee Andrew D. Rosenberg, MD. 

The four distinguished panelists discussed various aspects of the meningitis outbreak including past compounding issues, how to diagnose and treat fungal meningitis and the purpose and safety of steroid injections. The experts spoke on:

• The history of tainted injectables delivered by Steven Gayer, MD, MBA, professor of anesthesiology and ophthalmology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and chief of surgical and anesthesia services, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami and the Palm Beaches, Fla.

• The diagnostic process of fungal meningitis presented by Mark R. Abbruzzese, MD, associate professor of medicine and infectious disease, Georgetown University and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C.

• The safety of steroid injectables to treat chronic pain shared by James P. Rathmell, MD, vice chair and chief, Division of Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

• The importance of aseptic techniques in regional anesthesia and pain medicine offered by  James R. Hebl, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology and vice-chair for clinical practice, Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

“The goal of the panel was to present the facts and clarify any misperceptions concerning the outbreak of fungal meningitis,” says ASA chair of the committee on communications John F. Dombrowski, MD, who also served as the moderator for the panel. “Steroid injections are safe, and as pain physicians, it is our responsibility to educate patients about the proper administration of interventional pain management techniques.”

Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists

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