The aging anesthesiologist

Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2016 Apr;29(2):206-11. doi: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000299.


Purpose of review: The average age of anesthesiologists in the USA is increasing. Advancing age is accompanied by challenges and opportunities to the individual anesthesiologist and his/her colleagues. This article will discuss the science behind policies to assure continued competence among these aging physicians and safety for their patients.

Recent findings: There is growing evidence that aging anesthesiologists may be advantaged by a lifetime of experience but possibly disadvantaged under certain circumstances by lapses in current medical knowledge contributing to medical errors. Policies and procedures are emerging to assist in evaluating the continued competence of aging physicians.

Summary: The average age of practicing anesthesiologists in the USA is increasing. As physicians continue to practice into later years, it is critical that innovative continuing medical education programs and objective evaluations of clinical skills and competence focused upon this group continue to be developed to assure public safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Anesthesiologists*
  • Anesthesiology* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Medical Errors
  • Patient Safety
  • Physical Fitness
  • Retirement
  • United States
  • Workforce