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Parker H, Frost J, Day J, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0271454.
Prophylactic antimicrobials are frequently prescribed for surgical patients despite the risks of antimicrobial overuse (e.g., resistance). This review summarizes how and why antimicrobials continue to be prescribed in surgical settings despite evidence of overuse. Eight overarching concepts were identified: hierarchy; fear drives action; deprioritized; convention trumps evidence; complex judgments; discontinuity of care; team dynamics; and practice environment.
Burns ML, Saager L, Cassidy RB, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;Epub Jul 20.
Anesthesiologists often must oversee multiple surgeries. This study evaluated adult patients from 23 US academic and private hospitals who underwent major surgery between 2010, and 2017, to examine anesthesiologist staffing ratios against patient morbidity and mortality. The authors categorized the staffing into four groups based on the number of operations the anesthesiologist was covering. The study found that increased anesthesiologist coverage was associated with greater risk-adjusted morbidity and mortality of surgical patients. Hospitals should consider evaluating anesthesiology staffing to determine potential increased risks.
Marsh KM, Fleming MA, Turrentine FE, et al. J Pediatr Surg. 2022;57:616-621.
Patient safety improvement can be hindered by lack of effective measurement tools. This scoping review explored how medical errors are defined and measured in studies of pediatric surgery patients. The authors identified several evidence gaps, including absence of standardized error definitions.
Zhang D, Gu D, Rao C, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jun 1.
Clinician workload has been linked with poor patient outcomes. This retrospective cohort study assessed the outcomes for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) performed as a surgeons’ first versus non-first procedure of the day. Findings suggest that prior workload adversely affected outcomes for patients undergoing CABG surgery, with increases in adverse events, myocardial infarction, and stroke compared to first procedures.
Abdelmalak BB, Adhami T, Simmons W, et al. Anesth Analg. 2022;135:198-208.
A 2009 CMS Condition of Participation (CoP) requires that a director of anesthesia services assume overall responsibility for anesthesia administered in the hospital, including procedural sedation provided by nonanesthesiologists. This article reviews the CoP as it relates to procedural sedation, lays out a framework for implementing this role, and describes challenges of implementation in a large health system.
Aranaz-Ostáriz V, Gea-Velázquez De Castro MT, López-Rodríguez-Arias F, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:4761.
Preventable adverse events (AE) can occur across medical settings. This study of patients admitted to a surgical ward in Spain compared rates of AE in operated and non-operated patients. Operated patients were more than twice as likely to experience an AE compared with non-operated patients. The most common AE was infection following surgery, affecting 24% of operated and 9% of non-operated patients.
Massart N, Mansour A, Ross JT, et al. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2022;163:2131-2140.e3.
Surgical site infections and other postoperative healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) can lead to significant patient morbidity and mortality. This retrospective study examined the relationship between HAIs after cardiac surgery and postoperative inpatient mortality. Among 8,853 patients undergoing cardiac surgery in one academic hospital in France, 4.2% developed an HAI after surgery. When patients developing an HAI were matched with patients who did not, the inpatient mortality rate was significantly greater among patients with HAIs (15.4% vs. 5.7%).

Ehrenwerth J. UptoDate. May 25, 2022.

Operating room fires are never events that, while rare, still harbor great potential for harm. This review discusses settings prone to surgical fire events, prevention strategies, and care management steps should patients be harmed by an operating room fire.
MacLeod JB, D’Souza K, Aguiar C, et al. J Cardiothorac Surg. 2022;17:69.
Post-operative complications can lead to increased length of hospital stay, cost, and resource utilization. This retrospective study compared “fast track” patients (patients extubated and transferred from ICU to a step-down unit the same day as their procedure) and patients who were not fast tracked. Results showed fast track pathways led to a reduction in ICU and overall hospital length of stay and similar post-operative outcomes.

An 18-month-old girl presented to the Emergency Department (ED) after being attacked by a dog and sustaining multiple penetrating injuries to her head and neck. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to establish intravenous access, an intraosseous (IO) line was placed in the patient’s proximal left tibia to facilitate administration of fluids, blood products, vasopressors, and antibiotics.  In the operating room, peripheral intravenous (IV) access was eventually obtained after which intraoperative use of the IO line was restricted to a low-rate fluid infusion.

Armstrong BA, Dutescu IA, Nemoy L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:463-478.
Despite widespread use of surgical safety checklists (SSC), its success in improving patient outcomes remains inconsistent, potentially due to variations in implementation and completion methods. This systematic review sought to identify how many studies describe the ways in which the SSC was implemented and completed, and the impact on provider outcomes, patient outcomes, and moderating factors. A clearer positive relationship was seen for provider outcomes (e.g., communication) than for patient outcomes (e.g., mortality).
Tham N, Fazio T, Johnson D, et al. World J Surg. 2022;46:1249-1258.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to changes in infection control and prevention measures to limit nosocomial spread. This retrospective cohort study found that escalations in infection prevention and control practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect the incidence of other hospital-acquired infections among surgical patients at one Australian hospital. The authors posit that this may be due to high compliance with existing infection prevention and control practices pre-pandemic.

Lane S, Gross M, Arzola C, et al. Can J Anaesth. Epub 2022 Mar 22.

Intraoperative anesthesia handovers can increase patient safety risks. Based on video-recorded handovers and anesthetic records, researchers at this tertiary care center found that introduction of an intraoperative handover checklist improved handover completeness, which may decrease risk for adverse events.
Fuchs A, Frick S, Huber M, et al. Anaesthesia. 2022;77:751-762.
Pre-procedure checklists have been shown to improve patient safety but they are still not utilized in all situations. Analysis of five years of airway management checklist use in operating room, non-operating room, and emergency procedures showed increasing adherence to checklist use, but completion varied by time of day, location, and urgency of procedure. Further research into causes for these variations is recommended.
Oliver JB, Kunac A, McFarlane JL, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;157:211-219.
Physician autonomy is an important component to medical training, but carries risks to patient safety. This retrospective cohort study used VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP) data from July 2004 through September 2019 to examine resident operative autonomy impacts patient outcomes. Findings indicate that surgical procedures performed by residents alone were not associated with higher rates of mortality or morbidity compared to procedures performed with the assistance of attending surgeons or by attending surgeons alone.
Al-Ghunaim TA, Johnson J, Biyani CS, et al. Am J Surg. 2022;224:228-238.
Burnout in healthcare providers has been linked to lower patient safety and increased adverse events. This systematic review examined studies focusing on the relationship between burnout and patient safety and professionalism in surgeons. Results indicate higher rates of burnout and emotional exhaustion were associated with an increased risk of involvement in medical error. Interventions to reduce burnout and improve surgeon well-being may result in improved patient safety.
Tewfik G, Naftalovich R, Kaushal N, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2022;128:e28-e32.
Adverse event reporting and tracking are essential components to safety improvement. This letter to the editor summarizes the barriers to accurate adverse event tracking in anesthesiology, including fear of blame or lack of education regarding the importance of identifying reportable events, and the role of Anesthesia Information Management Systems for improving incident reporting and tracking.
Pérez Zapata AI, Rodríguez Cuéllar E, de la Fuente Bartolomé M, et al. Patient Saf Surg. 2022;16:7.
Trigger tools are one method of retrospectively detecting adverse events. In this study, researchers used data from 31 Spanish hospitals to validate a trigger tool in general and gastrointestinal surgery departments. Of 40 triggers, 12 were identified for optimizing predictive power of the trigger tool, including broad spectrum antibiotherapy, unscheduled postoperative radiology, and reintervention.
Dorken Gallastegi A, Mikdad S, Kapoen C, et al. J Surg Res. 2022;274:185-195.
While interoperative deaths (IODs) are rare, they are catastrophic events. This study analyzed five years of data on IODs from a large academic medical center. The authors describe three phenotypes: patients with traumatic injury, those undergoing non-trauma-related emergency surgery, and patients who die during an elective procedure from medical cardiac arrests or vascular injuries. This classification framework can serve as a foundation for future research or quality improvement processes.