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General Anesthesia in Dental Offices

Larry O. Goldbeck, MD
JAMA. 1986;255(12):1567. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370120041006.
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To the Editor.—  I wish to make the following comments regarding the CONSENSUS CONFERENCE entitled "Anesthesia and Sedation in the Dental Office."1 The panel of "experts" lacked the real experts in anesthesiology, ie, physician-anesthesiologists who chair major university departments of anesthesiology.The true number of deaths resulting from anesthesia/sedation in dental offices is extremely difficult to determine because a high percentage may not be reported or publicized. Office practice does not have the intense scrutiny found in the operating theaters of hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals.The data quoted for mortality rates associated with general anesthesia in dental offices ranging from 1:250,000 to 1:860,000 are naive at best. There are about 8,000 operating room deaths annually in the United States attributable entirely or in part to anesthesia. This makes the overall mortality risk of anesthesia in the hospitals about 1:3,000. If one discounts the


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