Emergency surgery increases the risk of a retained surgical sponge (RSS) by 9-fold. In most cases, surgical counts are falsely reported as correct. We hypothesized that the institutional costs resulting from a RSS would make routine intraoperative radiography (IOR) more cost-effective than surgical counts in preventing RSS after emergent open cavity cases.
A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed to compare routine IOR with surgical counts after emergent open cavity operations. Parameter estimates were obtained from the literature, expert opinion via a standardized survey, and existing institutional data.
Routine IOR was the preferred strategy ($705 vs $1155 per patient) under the assumptions of the base case. The surgical count strategy was dominated by the institutional costs incurred after a RSS. Routine IOR was preferential as long as the sensitivity of surgical counts was less than 98% and the legal fees were more than $44,000 per case of RSS.
Routine IOR is a simple, cost-effective option to reduce the occurrence of this preventable medical error. Institutional costs and legal fees associated with RSS dominate the cost of the surgical count strategy, making routine IOR a more cost-effective strategy than surgical counts given the best available parameter estimates.
"Although intraoperative roentgenograms are not routinely required, a cost-effectiveness analysis of routine radiographs after emergent operations found that intraoperative radiography was both less costly and more effective than the traditional counting strategy because of institutional costs and legal fees associated with retained surgical sponges . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite near-universal implementation of protocols for surgical sponges, instruments and needles, incidents of retained surgical foreign bodies (RSFB) continue to be a significant patient safety challenge. We report a case of a 29-year-old woman who presented with small intestinal obstruction caused by complete intraluminal migration of a retained surgical sponge into the intestine 9 months after cesarean section. The diagnosis was confirmed by plain abdominal radiograph. The patient underwent exploratory laparotomy, sponge removal and became completely asymptomatic. Although safety standards for hospital employees have been developed during the past decades, no detection system to date has been evaluated as a replacement for traditional manual counting protocols and procedures. The best approach is the prevention of this condition, which can be achieved by implementation of standardized institutional regulations and strict adherence to them. Perhaps, with increasing use of the new technologies as adjunct to the counting, the incidence of RSFB will fall dramatically.
Data provided are for informational purposes only. Although carefully collected, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The impact factor represents a rough estimation of the journal's impact factor and does not reflect the actual current impact factor. Publisher conditions are provided by RoMEO. Differing provisions from the publisher's actual policy or licence agreement may be applicable.