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Adverse Events in Abdominal Surgery: The Financial Impact

Adverse Events in Abdominal Surgery: The Financial Impact

Patient safety continues to be a national healthcare priority since recent landmark reports and population-based studies have estimated that 44,000 to 98,000 patients die every year in the United States as a result of medical errors. “As there has been increased interest in patient safety and benchmarking of healthcare quality over the past 20 years, it’s become critical to study the clinical and financial impact of intraoperative adverse events (AEs),” says Haytham Kaafarani, MD, MPH. Few studies to date have provided evidence on specific aspects of intraoperative AEs. “Much of the research focuses on complications after surgeries are performed,” Dr. Kaafarani says. “On the other hand, intraoperative AEs have been a Pandora’s box because they are much more challenging to study.”   Taking a Closer Look For a study published in Surgery, Dr. Kaafarani and colleagues investigated the additional healthcare charges attributable to the occurrence of intraoperative AEs. The analysis merged administrative data as well as clinical data from the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program databases for all patients undergoing abdominal surgery from January 2007 to October 2012. The researchers used the ICD-9-CM-based Patient Safety Indicator “accidental puncture/laceration” to initially screen participants for potential intraoperative AEs. All flagged medical records were systematically reviewed to remove “false positives” or confirm the real occurrence of an intraoperative AE. The study group then performed multivariable analyses (controlling for demographics, comorbidities/laboratory values, procedure type, and approach and complexity of surgery) to assess the increase in healthcare charges that were independently associated with the occurrence of intraoperative AEs.   Important Results Of 9,111 patients included in the study, 183 were...
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