Over 90.4 percent of anesthesiologists responding to an informal survey conducted by the American Society of Anesthesiologists said they are currently experiencing a shortage of at least one anesthesia drug, the group announced this week. In addition, 98.1 percent of respondents said they had experienced at least one drug shortage in the last year. Of those who had experienced shortages, 51.1 percent said they had to change procedures to adapt, 6 percent had postponed cases and 4.1 percent canceled cases, while 91.8 percent had used alternate drugs. In all, 1,373 anesthesiologists responded to the survey.


Among the other findings:

  • Respondents who reported shortages told the ASA that 49.2 percent of patients experienced less than optimal outcomes as a result, including post-operative nausea and vomiting, while 49.1 percent of patients experienced longer OR or recovery times.
  • The drugs with the highest frequency of current reported shortages were Neostigmine (56.9 percent), Thiopental (54.7 percent,) Succinylcholine (47.6 percent), Propofol (40.3 percent) and Epinephrine (9.1 percent).
  • The drugs with the highest frequency of reported shortages in the last year were Propofol (89.3 percent), Succinylcholine (80.4 percent) and Thiopental (60.2 percent).