NIHR | April 2019 | Better care of deteriorating patients has reduced US mortality after surgery
A US observational study examines how reductions in postoperative complications and improvements in failure to rescue (when a patient develops complications after surgery and then dies) have contributed to improvements in surgical mortality over the last ten years.
These US findings support the recently introduced early warning system in the NHS called NEWS2. This aims to detect which patients are deteriorating so that management can be escalated. This is a hospital-wide initiative for all adult patients, not just following surgery (Source: NIHR Signal).
NIHR Better care of deteriorating patients has reduced US mortality after surgery
The study has now been published in the Annals of Surgery
Full reference: Fry, B. | 2019|Ten-year Trends in Surgical Mortality, Complications, and Failure to Rescue in Medicare Beneficiaries | Annals of Surgery | ePub ahead of print
Objective: To evaluate how changes in complication and failure to rescue rates influence hospitals postoperative mortality rates.
Summary Background Data: Surgical mortality has declined over the last decade, but the mechanisms underlying these improvements are unknown. Specifically, the relative impact of reducing postoperative complications versus improving failure to rescue remains unclear.
Methods: Using Medicare claims data, we performed a retrospective study of abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, pulmonary resection, colectomy, and pancreatectomy patients. We examined risk-adjusted 30-day mortality, serious complications, and failure to rescue for these patients in from 2005 to 2014 (n = 702,268 patients in 3404 hospitals). Hospitals were then stratified into quintiles by their change in mortality over time. Results: After stratifying by reductions in mortality from 2005 to 2014, the top 20% of hospitals decreased mortality by 37%, decreased serious complications by 11%, and decreased failure to rescue by 25%. In contrast, the bottom 20% of hospitals increased mortality by 12%, increased serious complications by 5%, and increased failure to rescue by 4% . Partitioning of variance demonstrated that decreased failure to rescue explained 64% of improvement in hospitals mortality over time, whereas decreased serious complications accounted for only 5% of this improvement.
Conclusions: Hospitals with the largest reductions in surgical mortality achieved these improvements primarily through reducing failure to rescue rates and not by reducing serious complication rates. This suggests that hospitals aiming to reduce surgical mortality should engage in efforts focused on improving rescue.
Rotherham NHS staff can request the full article from the Library