Background: Accidental awareness during general anaesthesia (AAGA) is a complex and rare outcome to investigate in surgical patient populations, particularly obstetric patients. We report the protocol of the Direct Reporting of Awareness in Maternity patients (DREAMY) study, illustrating how the research was designed to address practical and methodological challenges for investigating AAGA in an obstetric cohort.
Methods: This is the trial protocol of a prospective, multicentre cohort study of patients undergoing obstetric surgery under general anaesthesia. Accidental awareness during general anaesthesia will be detected using three repetitions of standardised direct questioning over 30 days, with responses indicating memories during general anaesthesia verified using structured interviews. Reports will be adjudicated, then classified, in accordance with pre-defined and pre-validated structures, including the Michigan Awareness Classification tool. Quantitative data will be collected on general anaesthesia conduct for all participants. This descriptive study is being conducted in England and aims to recruit a minimum of 2015 patients.
Results: The DREAMY study was prospectively registered (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03100396) and ethical approval granted. Participant recruitment began in May 2017 and one year follow up concluded in August 2019. Publication of the results is anticipated in 2020.
Conclusions: The DREAMY study will provide data on incidence, experience and implications of AAGA for obstetric patients, using a robust methodology that will reliably detect and translate subjective AAGA reports into objective outcomes. In addition, the study is expected to improve vigilance for AAGA in participating hospitals and encourage adoption of recommendations for support of patients experiencing AAGA.
Keywords: Awareness; Consciousness; Obstetric surgery; Perioperative complications; Research protocol.
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