Inappropriate dosing of neostigmine for antagonism of neuromuscular blockade has been associated with postoperative pulmonary complications. We evaluated the effects of a quality improvement initiative tailored to optimise the use of neostigmine in antagonising neuromuscular blockade on postoperative pulmonary complications, costs and duration of hospital stay. The quality improvement initiative consisted of: a reduction in available neostigmine aliquot sizes; a cognitive aid; an educational component; and a financial incentive for the intra-operative documentation of train-of-four measurement before administration of neostigmine. We conducted a pre-specified analysis of data obtained in our quality improvement study. Additional analyses were conducted in a propensity-matched cohort. An interrupted time series design was used to discriminate between the intervention and a counterfactual scenario. We analysed 12,025 consecutive surgical cases performed in 2015. Postoperative pulmonary complications occurred in 220 (7.5%) of 2937 cases pre-intervention and 568 (6.3%) of 9088 cases post-intervention. Adjusted regression analyses showed significantly a lower risk of postoperative pulmonary complications (OR 0.73 (95%CI 0.61–0.88); p = 0.001), lower costs (incidence rate ratio 0.95 (95%CI 0.93–0.97); p < 0.001) and shorter duration of hospital stay (incidence rate ratio 0.91 (95%CI 0.87–0.94); p < 0.001) after implementation of the quality improvement initiative. Analyses in a propensity-matched sample (n = 2936 per group) and interrupted time series analysis (n = 27,202 cases) confirmed the findings. Our data show that a local, multifaceted quality improvement initiative can enhance the quality of intra-operative neuromuscular blocking agent utilisation, thereby reducing the incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications.
- neostigmine: dose rationale
- neuromuscular block: assessment
- patient care
- quality measures
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine