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Monday, September 20, 2010

Transcontinental anesthesia


The world’s first example of transcontinental patient treatment was achieved last month. Thomas Hemmerling and his team from McGill University, Montreal, collaborated with Cedrick Zaouter and his team from Pisa University in remotely treating patients in Pisa.

Each patient's room contains four cameras that track vital signs. At a remote computer station called the ‘anesthesia cockpit’, doctors monitor and control the patient’s anesthesia levels. The process can be overridden at any time by doctors on the scene.

Caption: This anesthesia cockpit in Montreal is controlling anesthesia in Pisa.

Credit: Dept. of Anesthesia, McGill University

Although most people would prefer to have their anesthesiologist in the room with them personally checking their vital signs, not everyone lives in an area where such specialists are accessible. Once this system gets perfected, small rural hospitals will be able to offer a much wider range of services.