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Open Access Research article

Utilities of the Post-anesthesia State derived by the Standard Gamble method in surgical patients

Saifudin Rashiq*, Diane Edlund and Bruce D Dick

Author Affiliations

Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, University of Alberta, 8-120 Clinical Sciences Building, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G3, Canada

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2006, 6:8  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-8

Published: 15 February 2006



There are no published utilities for the post-anesthesia state obtained by the standard gamble method (SG).


We obtained utilities for postoperative pain, nausea, vomiting, urinary retention and myalgia from 100 adults prior to elective surgery using SG.


20% of volunteer participants could not demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of the SG process. Median utilities for each adverse effect were all very close to 1.0, and no statistically significant differences were found between them.


Our results suggest that the avoidance of anesthesia related side effects and pain is not viewed by patients prior to surgery as being worthy of the taking of even a miniscule risk of death. This may affect the decision to utilize anesthesia techniques that trade a lower incidence of common side effects for a very low but finite risk of a catastrophic complication.