The following viewpoint grew out of my Alan Merry Oration titled “Towards Equity” at the 2022 NZSA/ASA Combined Scientific Congress in Wellington, New Zealand.

The assessment of New Zealand (NZ) patients for anesthetic risk involves an extra dimension – the extent to which anesthetic risk may be affected by the patient's ethnicity. Māori (indigenous New Zealanders) have greater vulnerabilities than Pākehā (New Zealanders of European descent).

The reasons for this phenomenon are not yet fully understood, but they can be illustrated by the example of Mr. X, an 85-year-old Māori man who presented for anesthesia for an elective colorectal resection. He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer after presenting with iron deficiency anaemia, which was subsequently corrected. His anesthesiologist then assessed him as ASA Physical Status 4, based on his hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and controlled heart failure.

As part of his preanesthesia assessment, his mortality risk was calculated using...

You do not currently have access to this content.