The financial impact of intraoperative adverse events in abdominal surgery

Elie P. Ramly, Andreas Larentzakis, Jordan D. Bohnen, Michael Mavros, Yuchiao Chang, Jarone Lee, D. Dante Yeh, Marc Demoya, David R. King, Peter J. Fagenholz, George C. Velmahos, Haytham M.A. Kaafarani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background Little evidence currently exists regarding the clinical or financial impact of intraoperative adverse events (iAEs). We sought to study the additional health care charges attributable to the occurrence of an iAE. Methods The administrative and ACS-NSQIP databases at our tertiary academic medical center were linked for all patients undergoing abdominal surgery (January 2007-October 2012). The ICD-9-CM-based Patient Safety Indicator "accidental puncture/laceration" was used to screen the linked database for potential iAEs. All iAEs were confirmed subsequently through standardized review of all flagged medical records. Multivariate analyses controlling for demographics, comorbidities/laboratory values, procedure type, and approach and complexity of surgery were performed to assess the increase in health care charges independently predicted by the occurrence of iAEs. Results Of 9,111 patients, 183 were confirmed to have iAEs. Patients in the iAE group had higher median total charges ($27,169 [IQR, 17,302-44,952] vs $13,312 [IQR, 8,586-22,012]; P < .001), direct charges ($17,808 [IQR, 11,520-28,930] vs $8,738 [IQR, 5,686-14,227]; P < .001) and indirect charges ($9,396 [IQR, 5,932-16,144] vs $4,568 [IQR, 2,887-7,824]; P < .001) when compared with patients without iAEs. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that iAEs independently predict an increase in total hospitalization charges by 41% (95% CI, 30-52%; P < .001). Specifically, the direct, indirect, operating room, laboratory/radiology, and alimentation/medical therapy charges increased by 42, 39, 27, 54, and 48%, respectively (all P < .001). Conclusion In addition to the morbidity incurred by patients, the occurrence of an iAE is associated with major additional health care charges. In an era of value-based health care, understanding and preventing iAEs can lead to major cost savings alongside improvements in patient safety and surgical quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4188
Pages (from-to)1382-1388
Number of pages7
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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