The Patient Safety in Surgery Study: Background, Study Design, and Patient Populations

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Journal of the American College of Surgeons (Impact Factor: 5.12). 07/2007; 204(6):1089-102. DOI: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2007.03.028
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this article is to describe the background, design, and patient populations of the Patient Safety in Surgery Study, as a preliminary to the articles in this journal that will report the results of the Study.
The Patient Safety in Surgery Study was a prospective cohort study. Trained nurses collected preoperative risk factors, operative variables, and 30-day postoperative mortality and morbidity outcomes in patients undergoing major general and vascular operations at 128 Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and 14 selected university medical centers between October 1, 2001 and September 30, 2004. An Internet-based data collection system was used to input data from the different private medical centers. Semiannual feedback of observed to expected mortality and morbidity ratios was provided to the participating medical centers.
During the 3-year study, total accrual in general surgery was 145,618 patients, including 68.5% from the VA and 31.5% from the private sector. Accrual in vascular surgery totaled 39,225 patients, including 77.8% from the VA and 22.2% from the private sector. VA patients were older and included a larger proportion of male patients and African Americans and Hispanics. The VA population included more inguinal, umbilical, and ventral hernia repairs, although the private-sector population included more thyroid and parathyroid, appendectomy, and operations for breast cancer. Preoperative comorbidities were similar in the two populations, but the rates of comorbidities were higher in the VA. American Society of Anesthesiologists classification tended to be higher in the VA.
The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program methodology was successfully implemented in the 14 university medical centers. The data from the study provided the basis for the articles in this issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

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