The history of the College of Anaesthetists of South Africa

The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa

The initiative to establish a college in South Africa came from a number of directions starting in the late 1940s. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of South Africa (CPSSA) was founded and financed in 1954 by members of the medical profession and was registered as a non-profit company in 1955. At the second annual general meeting (AGM) of the College held on 14 September 1957, a motion was passed to change its name to the College of Physicians, Surgeons, and Gynaecologists of South Africa. Following a decision in October 1969 to amalgamate the South African College of General Practitioners with the College of Physicians, Surgeons and Gynaecologists into a single college, the all-inclusive College of Medicine of South Africa was officially established in October 1971. In April 1998, following the conversion of faculties to colleges, the name of the parent body was changed to the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. Today it is known as the CMSA and it is the custodian of postgraduate medical assessment and, hence, the quality of medical care in South Africa. The CMSA is unique in the world in that it comprises 28 constituent colleges representing all the disciplines of Medicine and Dentistry, and it includes the College of Anaesthetists of South Africa (CASA).

Prevalence and predisposing factors of post-traumatic stress symptoms in anaesthetists during the second wave of COVID-19 in South Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated stressors in a healthcare system where anxiety, depression and burnout had already reached epidemic proportions, with burnout as high as 84% at some healthcare institutions. Navigating increased patient numbers in the face of limited available hospital beds, staff and personal protective equipment (PPE), may overwhelm already expended frontline workers. In addition to being at risk of developing mental health problems, anaesthetists are among the highest risk for viral exposure due to their proximity to the airway and the nature of the airway procedures they perform. Aerosol-generating procedures, such as tracheal intubation, are associated with a six-fold increased risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections.

Radiation exposure of anaesthesia providers in Africa: an occupational exposure study

With advances in diagnostic and interventional radiological procedures, the occupational exposure and risk to anaesthesiologists from ionising radiation has increased.1 Interventional radiology now involves anaesthesiologists to a greater extent.2 Radiation exposure to anaesthesiologists may occur both in the operating theatre and in remote locations, especially the radiological/hybrid suite.3 The recognition of potential harm from occupational radiation exposure has led to the formulation and implementation of established standards of safety within occupational medicine. Although current literature suggests that radiation exposure is less than the current recommended safety limit, this should not lead to complacency.4 Currently, there are no policies to monitor exposure to anaesthetic staff in South Africa. It is recommended that radiation safety should also form part of the formal education of anaesthesiology training programmes.

Case report of a caesarean delivery in a primigravida with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries

General examination revealed clubbing and central cyanosis. Focused cardiovascular examination showed regular pulses, no radio-femoral delay, a non-displaced apex, palpable parasternal thrill during systole, and left parasternal heave. This correlates with a grade 5/6 holosystolic murmur, radiating from the central precordium to the rest of the anterior chest. No signs of congestive cardiac failure were present. Laboratory investigations showed a haemoglobin level of 14.1 g/dL, leucocytosis of 17.39 × 109/L, and normal platelet count. Arterial blood gas analysis revealed a pH of 7.43, pCO2 of 4.0 kPa, pO2 of 7.1 kPa and bicarbonate of 22.1 mmol/L on FiO2 of 0.4. An early obstetric ultrasound estimated gestational age. On subsequent admission of the patient at 25 weeks gestation, the estimated foetal weight was 1.4 kg, in breech position and a fundal placenta.

Cisatracurium is an ideal neuromuscular blocking agent for ICU paralysis

Pharmacologically complex, unpredictable, dangerous but highly effective at what they do: muscle paralysis through the use of neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) is a necessary evil in the operating theatre and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a massive increase in the demand for intensive care treatment of patients with respiratory distress and the need for ventilation, which has led to staff unfamiliar with these agents being required to prescribe and administer them.


Health Professions Council of South Africa


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Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - March/April 2022 Vol 28 No 2

3.0 CPD Points

Level 2