Anaesthetists' knowledge of antiretroviral drugs with specific relevance to anaesthesia

Omar Maryam
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Background: The inability of modern medicine to find a cure for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has made the disease one of the deadliest pathogens of the 21st century. However, a growing understanding of the incurable yet lethal nature of HIV has led to the development of antiretroviral treatment (ART) as a means to control the virulence of the disease and improve life expectancy. South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world, with 19% of the global number of HIV cases. It also has the largest treatment programme, accounting for 20% of people on ART globally. In the perioperative context, Penfold et al estimated that 29.4% of HIV-positive patients in the state health sector will encounter surgery and anaesthesia. In view of this, healthcare professionals require knowledge of ART. This assertion is echoed by the South African Society of Anaesthesiology (SASA), which requires anaesthetists to have extensive pharmacological knowledge of ART and its interactions with anaesthetic agents. The aim of this study was to describe the level of knowledge of anaesthetists at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Department of Anaesthesia on ART, with specific relevance to anaesthesia. Method: A prospective, contextual and descriptive research design, involving a self-administered the questionnaire was used. The questionnaire consisted of two sections: demographic data and knowledge-based questions. Convenience sampling was used. The sample population included Wits anaesthetists who attended academic meetings and who voluntarily elected to participate. Results: Descriptive statistics were used. The overall mean score obtained by the 130 participants was 8 (50%) (SD 2.8), which is 30% below the adequate score of 80%. The range of scores attained by participants was 1-15 (6-94%) with only five (4%) participants achieving a score of~ 80%. Conclusion: The majority of anaesthetists in the Department of Anaesthesia did not have adequate knowledge of ART, specifically with regard to their interactions with anaesthetic agents.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Medicine in the branch of Anaesthesiology