imageSixty years ago, Henry Knowles Beecher, MD, and Donald Todd, MD, published a provocative study in the Annals of Surgery. The study showed that patients given neuromuscular blocking agents were six times as likely to die in recovery as those who did not receive the drugs. Most of that excess mortality resulted from respiratory events.
Six decades later, shockingly little has changed. As many as 100,000 patients annually in the United States suffer respiratory complications and other adverse events after surgery because they experience residual paralysis from neuromuscular blocking agents, experts warn.