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Risk of Anesthetic Death for Cats

Brodbelt, D. C., K. J. Blissitt, et al. (2008). “The risk of death: the Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Small Animal Fatalities.” Vet Anaesth Analg. 2008 May 5

The objective of this prospective study was to estimate the risks of anesthetic and sedation-related mortality in small animals in the United Kingdom. All small animals anesthetized and sedated at 117 veterinary practices between June 2002 and June 2004 were included. Patient outcomes at 48 hours were recorded. An anesthetic or sedation-related death was one where surgical or pre-existing medical problems did not solely cause death. In total, the records of 79,178 cats were evaluated. The overall risk of anesthesia or sedation-related death within 48 hours of the procedure was 0.24% and was higher than that for dogs (0.17%). The risk for healthy cats was estimated to be 0.11%, again higher than that for dogs (0.05%). The risk for sick cats was 1.40% (versus 1.33% for sick dogs). Postoperative deaths accounted for 61% of the cat deaths (versus 47% for dogs). The researchers conclude that small animal anesthesia appears to be increasingly safe, and that greater care in the postoperative period could reduce mortality.
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Related articles:
Brodbelt, D. C., D. U. Pfeiffer, et al. (2007). “Risk factors for anaesthetic-related death in cats: results from the confidential enquiry into perioperative small animal fatalities (CEPSAF).” Br J Anaesth 99(5): 617-23.
>> PubMed Abstract