Prioritizing Perioperative Quality Improvement in Orthopaedic Surgery

Schihing, Peter L.; Hallstrom, Brian R.; Birkmeyer, John D.; Carpenter, James E.
August 2010
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;Aug2010, Vol. 92-A Issue 9, p1884
Academic Journal
Background: Surgical quality improvement has received increasing attention in recent years, but it is not clear where orthopaedic surgeons should focus their efforts for the greatest impact on perioperative safety and quality. We sought to guide these efforts by prioritizing orthopaedic procedures according to those that generate the greatest number of adverse events. Methods: We used data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) to identify all patients who had undergone an orthopaedic surgical procedure between 2005 and 2007 (n = 7970). Patients were assigned to forty-four unique procedure groups on the basis of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. We first assessed the relative contribution of each procedure group to the overall number of adverse events in the first thirty postoperative days, and we followed that with a description of their relative contribution to an excess length of stay in the hospital. Results: Ten procedures accounted for 70% of the adverse events and 65% of the excess hospital days. Hip fracture repair accounted for the greatest share of adverse events, followed by total knee arthroplasty, total hip arthroplasty, revision total hip arthroplasty, knee arthroscopy, laminectomy, lumbar/thoracic arthrodesis, and femoral fracture repair. No other procedure group accounted for >2% of the adverse events. Conclusions: Only a few procedures account for the vast majority of adverse events in the first thirty days following orthopaedic surgery. Concentrating quality-improvement efforts on these procedures may be an effective way for surgeons and other stakeholders to improve perioperative care and reduce costs in orthopaedic surgery.


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