Background: Cardiopulmonary bypass procedures remain complex, involving many potential risks. Therefore, a nationwide retrospective study was conducted to gain insight into the number of incidents and accidents in Dutch adult perfusion practice. Methods: An anonymous postal survey (85 questions about hardware, disposables, fluids and medication, air emboli, anticoagulation, practice, and safety measures) was sent to all Dutch perfusionists involved in adult cardiovascular perfusion during 2006 and 2007. To guarantee complete anonymity, respondents were asked to return the survey to a notary who discarded personal information. Results: The net response rate was 72% and covered 23,500 perfusions. Individual respondents performed 240 +/- 103 perfusions during the 2-year study period and had 13.8 +/- 8.7 years of practical experience. The incident rate was 1 per 15.6 perfusions and the adverse event rate was 1 per 1,236 perfusions. The three most reported incidents were: (1) persistent inability to raise the activated coagulation time above 400s during perfusion (184 incidents); (2) an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to drugs, fluids, or blood products (114 incidents); and (3) clotting formation in the extracorporeal circuit (74 incidents). Furthermore, pre-bypass safety measures showed no statistically significant association with the reported incidents. Conclusions: In comparison with data from the recent literature, the reported number of incidents is high. Nevertheless, the adverse outcome rate is well matched to other published surveys. The relatively high response rate conveys the impression that the Dutch perfusionist is vigilant and willing to report incidents. Hence, a web-based Dutch perfusion incident registration system is recommended.
- cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB)
- patient safety