Investigators at a single institution have shown that the organization of the anesthesia team influences patient outcomes after liver transplant surgery. Little is known about how liver transplant anesthesiologists are organized to deliver care throughout the United States. Therefore, we collected quantitative survey data from adult liver transplant programs in good standing with national governing agencies so that we could describe team structure and duties. Information was collected from 2 surveys in a series of quantitative surveys conducted by the Liver Transplant Anesthesia Consortium. All data related to duties, criteria for team membership, interactions/communication with the multidisciplinary team, and service availability were collected and summarized. Thirty-four of 119 registered transplant centers were excluded (21 pediatric centers and 13 centers not certified by national governing agencies). Private practice sites (26) were later excluded because of a poor response rate. There were minimal changes in the compositions of the programs between the 2 surveys. All academic programs had distinct liver transplant anesthesia teams. Most had set criteria for membership and protocols outlining the preoperative evaluation, attended selection committees, and were always available for transplant surgery. Fewer were involved in postoperative care or were available for patients needing subsequent surgery. Most trends were associated with the center volume. In conclusion, some of the variance in team structure and responsibilities is probably related to resources available at the site of practice. However, similarities in specific duties across all teams suggest some degree of self-initiated specialization.
Copyright © 2012 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.