CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Lifebox, a global not-for-profit organization, today announced that the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has joined its campaign to provide life-saving pulse oximeters for operating rooms in developing countries around the world. The announcement, made today at the ASA's annual meeting ANESTHESIOLOGY 2011, means ASA is lending significant support to Lifebox by urging donations of $250 to provide pulse oximeters to reduce unnecessary fatalities in operating rooms worldwide. ASA, the largest anesthesiology organization in the world with 47,000 potential contributors to the Lifebox initiative, seeks to collect enough donations to meet 50 percent of the global need for pulse oximeters.
Pulse oximeters, a component of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist, measure the level of oxygen in a patient's blood during anesthesia, sounding an early warning alarm if a patient is becoming short of oxygen, providing an opportunity to prevent brain damage, heart failure and in some cases death.
ASA made pulse oximetry a standard of care for US anesthesiologists more than 25 years ago and these devices are widely available in hospitals throughout other high-income countries such as the United Kingdom. However, they are critically missing from operating rooms in low and middle income countries. Recent statistics estimate that the number of operating rooms working without pulse oximetry ranges from 41 percent in Latin America, to 49 percent in south Asia, to 70 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa.(1)
"The American Society of Anesthesiologists is honored to be able to contribute to Lifebox's efforts to provide oxygen monitors for hospitals in countries that would otherwise not have access to them," said ASA Immediate Past President Alexander A. Hannenberg, MD. "As anesthesiologists, we recognize the need for this lifesaving device and encourage our members to learn more about the organization and sup