October 11, 2012
1 min read

Patient complications could be mitigated by diagnosis, education

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

A large percentage of complications arise after a patient is discharged from hospitals after major operations, which can lead to a longer road to recovery, according to recent research presented at the American College of Surgeons Annual Clinical Congress.

Of nearly 60,000 operations performed at 112 Veterans Affairs hospitals from 2005 to 2009 within four specialties – orthopedics, gastrointestinal (GI), vascular and gynecology – researchers found that one of every seven patients reported complications 30 days after surgery, according to a press release.

The complications studied included vascular problems, surgical site, urinary tract, respiratory, and cardiac infections with an overall complicate rate of 15%. The highest complication rate was seen in GI cases, at 27.5%, followed by vascular cases, at 20%, according to the release. By comparison, orthopedic cases had a 7% complication rate and gynecological surgery had a 6.7% complication rate.

Melanie Morris, MD, lead author and assistant professor of surgery, said it is important to capture important data points such as surgical site infection (SSI) that hospitals will be held accountable for later.

“It is important for our gynecology colleagues and our orthopedic colleagues to be sure that they’re adequately educating patients about SSIs and how to diagnose them to ensure timely and appropriate treatment,” Morris stated in a press release.


Melanie M, Deierhoi R, Richman J, et al. Measuring Surgical Complications as a Quality Metric: Looking Beyond Hospital Discharge. Presented at American College of Surgeons Annual Clinical Congress. Sept. 30-Oct. 4. Chicago.