Post-op death rates sheds light on need for increased post-operative focus

August 27, 2019

A study reviewed in Reuters Health claims that recovery at home is one of the riskiest times for post-surgical patients. The study examined outcomes for major complications and death intra-operatively and up to 30 days post-operatively in 40,000 patients 45 and older in 14 countries undergoing non-cardiac surgery. Of all postoperative deaths, 1% or 5 patients died in the operating room, 70% or 500 patients died in the hospital and 29% or 210 patients died after being sent home. Factors that significantly increased the likelihood of postoperative death were major bleeding, heart damage, bloodstream infections and sepsis. Other comorbidities included high blood pressure and diabetes. 

The article concludes by emphasizing an increased need for providers to focus on postoperative and transitional care-to-home, and enabling patients to empower themselves through advocacy and support of research into enhanced monitoring techniques after surgery. 

EHC Note: While not mentioned in the article, the concepts of Enhance Recovery with preoperative optimization and postoperative standardization, if applied worldwide should be effective in reducing concerning rates of postoperative morbidity and significant mortality found in this study.