Safer Anesthesia Delivery Starts with Better Equipment Management

July 2022


As a licensed veterinary technician and supervisor of a clinical support team, I’ve learned the importance of managing equipment to promote safer, more efficient anesthesia in veterinary medicine.

Many anesthetic complications arise from human error or equipment failure. But the risks of both can be lowered with the right tools and training. I am fortunate to work side-by-side with a team of credentialed veterinary technicians to educate veterinarians and veterinary technicians on how to successfully use their veterinary monitors and anesthesia machines. As we’re troubleshooting or discussing equipment, I encourage customers to ask the following before every procedure:

5 Important Questions to Ask Before Every Anesthetic Procedure

1.) Did you leak test the anesthesia machine?

2.) Is the APL valve open?

3.) Do you have an adequate oxygen supply?

4.) Is your CO2 absorbent desiccated?

5.) Did you check all the accessories?


Starting with these questions often uncovers issues that can be remedied before the patient is impacted. There is always an inherent risk in anesthetic cases. Being prepared can help reduce the risks.

A great quote that we often reference is from Dr. Robert M. Smith, a pioneer of modern anesthesia practice and former professor at Harvard Medical School. He said, “There are no safe anesthetic agents. There are no safe anesthetic procedures. There are only safe anesthetists.” 

To me, that means we need to expect the unexpected by having the proper training, the best equipment and the right experience.

What are some of the ways you can do that? Look for key safety features in your anesthetic equipment that can help improve anesthetic outcomes. For example, the Midmark Multiparameter Monitor has patent-pending features that include a pre-procedural checklist, CO2 soda lime absorbent reminder, and ECG and CO2 catalogs.

Midmark Academy is also available with expert trainers who will conduct training in your clinic, with your team, and on your equipment. Our Anesthesia Simulation Workshop is an ideal opportunity to gain confidence in managing anesthetic cases by practicing in a safe, simulated environment where learning mistakes will not cause harm to a patient.

If you’d like to learn more about enhancing the safety and reliability of your anesthesia equipment, watch my recent SPARK presentation. You’ll find that when you and your team are confident and prepared for the unexpected, you’ll be ready to manage anesthetic cases with greater peace of mind.