Death After Surgery – Weekly Must Reads in Patient Safety (Dec 11, 2015)

A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine concludes that there are too many patient deaths within 30 days of major surgery and many of these are preventable.

Dr. P.J. Devereaux, principal investigator, observes:

Almost no one now dies in the operating room or recovery room, but after surgery there is still an appreciable death rate.

Surgery image source:
Surgery image source:


So, what can be done to reduce the risk of the death after surgery?

Dr. Devereaux recommends:

We do believe better testing and much more intensive monitoring on the surgical floors … can allow us to improve the outcomes.

Hats off to @GothardNowalsky, @coolbeansweb23, @fnaus, and any others for their tweets about this research.

Better Testing

Investigators at Stanford University Medical Center have found that a simple blood test could predict post-surgical recovery times:

They determined that the activity of monocytes — the white blood cells throughout the body that form new connective tissue and blood vessels during wound healing — predicted as much as half of the post-op pain and hip dysfunction variations in patients, as compared to the white blood cell count at the wound site or the patient’s mental state, which accounted for only 10% of the variation in recovery time.

More Intensive Monitoring

A recent survey has found that “84 percent of providers are investing in remote patient monitoring solutions to support patients after hospital discharge”.


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