It has been found that a type of anaesthetic machine used in NHS hospitals can be hacked and controlled from afar – if left accessible on a hospital computer network. Cyber-security company, CyberMDX, reported that a successful attacker would be able to change the amount of anaesthetic delivered to a patient, as well as being able to silence any alarms designed to alert anaesthetists to danger.

Research by CyberMDX suggested the Aespire and Aestiva 7100 and 7900 devices could be targeted. Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust has said that these devices are being phased out, but also pointed out that these anaesthetic machines are not connected to the internet or the NUH network – so the risk is very little.

GE, who make the machines, said there was no ‘direct patient risk’.

The likelihood of harm being caused to a patient through any hacking of the devices was “incredibly small” said Dr Helgi Johannsson, consultant anaesthetist and Royal College of Anaesthetists Council Member.
“Patients should be reassured that their anaesthetist will be monitoring them constantly, and will have received many years of training to rectify immediately the situation of a device failure.” (10th July 19)