Study Examines Hospital Volume and Operative Mortality in Relation to High-Risk Surgery

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study in an article about trends in hospital volume and operative mortality for high-risk surgery. In the study, data from Medicare claims made nation-wide were used to assess patterns in high-volume hospitals which surgically treat cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study also evaluated concurrent trends in operative mortality rates connected to these surgeries at these high-volume hospitals. In gathering data for the study, patient information was considered regarding treatment of those from 65 to 99 years of age, from 1999 to 2008, who experienced one of these eight cancer and/or cardiovascular operations:

  1. esophagectomy,
  2. pancreatectomy,
  3. lung resection,
  4. cystectomy,
  5. repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA),
  6. coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG),
  7. carotid endarterectomy, and
  8. aortic-valve replacement.

Over 3.2 million Medicare patients were treated with one of these procedures in hospitals throughout the United States during this time period.

Analysis of the national Medicare data demonstrated that in the U.S. there has been an increase in these surgeries; mostly in relation to intricate cancer resections. The study found that from 1999 to 2008, the operative mortality rate for these procedures decreased (ranging from 8 percent to 36 percent). This result comports with other studies that report trends toward declining mortality in relation to high-risk surgery.

While technological advances, the use of checklists in the operating room and enhancements in perioperative and intensive care can all be associated with the decrease in mortality, tens of thousands of patients in the U.S. who have inpatient surgery still die each year from complications and issues pertaining to their procedures and post-operative care.

The New Jersey surgical mishap lawyers at Blume Forte have decades of experience obtaining favorable jury verdicts and settlements for our clients in medical malpractice matters. Our personal injury law firm insists on only handling meritorious cases, and, if you have any questions regarding the adequacy of your medical care, we encourage you to call us at 973-845-4421 for a no-cost consultation and case screening.

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