Healthcare News & Insights

Lowering post-op mortality — the surprising key

New research indicates that when it comes to reducing patient mortality, how well post-op complications are managed is just as important as preventing complications in the first place.

Researchers looked at more than 84,000 surgical patients at 186 hospitals between 2005 and 2007. The death rate from complications ranged from 3.5% to 6.9% — even though the complication rate was roughly equal at all facilities.

The researchers found that management of common post-op complications such as surgical site infection, heart attack and post-op bleeds was a key factor in ultimate patient outcome — just as important as reducing the number of complications.

Relatively small steps such as quickly administering antibiotics for infections and making quick transfers to ICU when complications are noticed, as well as improving access to  cardiologists, made a significant positive impact on mortality rates.

The data came from the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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