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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.
Bicket MC, Waljee JF, Hilliard P. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3:e221356.
Concern for improved prescribing of opiates motivated the development of programs and policies that have inadvertently caused new problems. This commentary discusses the impact of nonopioid use during surgery as a patient preference. It discusses the potential for adverse impacts of the strategy while recognizing the unique situation of perioperative use of pain medications.
Abdelmalak BB, Adhami T, Simmons W, et al. Anesth Analg. 2022;Epub May 12.
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.
Serou N, Slight RD, Husband AK, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:358-364.
Operating rooms are high-risk healthcare settings. This study reviewed serious surgical incidents occurring at large teaching hospitals in one National Health Service (NHS) trust. The authors outline several possible contributing factors (i.e., equipment and resource factors, team factors, work environment factors, and organizational and management factors) discuss recommendations for safer care.
Krenzischek DA, Card E, Mamaril M, et al. J Perianesth Nurs. 2022;Epub Apr 27.
Patients and caregivers are important partners in promoting safe care. Findings from this cross-sectional study reinforce the importance of patients’ perceived roles in ensuring safe surgery and highlight the importance of patient engagement in mitigating surgical site errors.

Farnborough, UK; Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; May 26, 2022.

Surgical equipment sterilization can be hampered by equipment design, production pressures, process complexity and policy misalignment. This report examines a case of unclean surgical instrument use. It recommends external sterile service assessment and competency review as steps toward improving the reliability of instrument decontamination processes in the National Health Service.
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.
Tan J, Krishnan S, Vacanti JC, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;Epub Apr 1.
Inpatient falls are a common patient safety event and can have serious consequences. This study used hospital safety reporting system data to characterize falls in perioperative settings. Falls represented 1% of all safety reports between 2014 and 2020 and most commonly involved falls from a bed or stretcher. The author suggests strategies to identify patients at high risk for falls, improve fall-related training for healthcare personnel, and optimize equipment design in perioperative areas to prevent falls.

The APSF Committee on Technology. APSF Newsletter2022;37(1):7–8.

Variation across standards and processes can result in misunderstandings that disrupt care safety. This guidance applied expert consensus to examine existing anesthesia monitoring standards worldwide. Recommendations are provided for organizations and providers to guide anesthesia practice in a variety of environments to address patient safety issues including accidental patient awareness during surgery.

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).
Reijmerink IM, Bos K, Leistikow IP, et al. Br J Surg. 2022;Epub Apr 4.
Organizational, environmental, and work-related factors can contribute to performance variations and human error during healthcare delivery. This study examined perioperative sentinel events reported to a Dutch database over a one-year period. It found that although performance variability continued in almost all events, it was rarely explicitly mentioned in incident reports or represented in resulting improvement measures. The authors suggest that explicitly addressing performance variability in sentinel event analyses can lead to more effective improvement measures that account for human performance in healthcare.
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.