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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;Epub Apr 7.
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).
Khansa I, Pearson GD. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2022;10:e4203.
Some clinicians experience profound emotional distress following an adverse event, known as the “second victim” phenomenon. This study of surgical residents in the US found that most residents who reported being part of a medical error had subsequent emotional distress, including guilt, anxiety, and insomnia. Importantly, while three quarters of residents reported they did not get emotional support following the event, all those who did get support reported benefiting from it.

Laber-Warren E. MedPage Today. April 5, 2022.

Resident autonomy is an essential component to medical training, but it is not without patient safety risks. This news article highlights situations where resident autonomy should be disclosed to patients (such as instances of overlapping surgeries) and the value of transparency about the role of surgical team members.
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;Epub Mar 18.
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;Epub Jan 4.
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.
Etheridge JC, Moyal-Smith R, Sonnay Y, et al. Int J Surg. 2022;98:106210.
Non-technical skills such as communication, teamwork, decision-making, and situational awareness are responsible for a significant proportion of surgical errors. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the stress in the operating room, associated with increased risk of exposure and shortage of resources. This study compared pre- and post-COVID direct observations during live operations and found that non-technical skills were equivalent; there was a small, but statistically significant, improvement in teamwork and cooperation skills.
Zheng MY, Lui H, Patino G, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e401-e406.
California law requires adverse events that led to serious injury or death because of hospital noncompliance to be reported to the state licensing agency. These events are referred to as “immediate jeopardy.” Using publicly available data, this study analyzed all immediate jeopardy cases between 2007 and 2017. Of the 385 immediate jeopardy cases, 36.6% led to patient death, and the most common category was surgical.
Sun LY, Jones PM, Wijeysundera DN, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2148161.
Previous research identified a relationship between anesthesia handoffs and rates of major complications and mortality compared to patients who had the same anesthesiologist throughout their procedure. This retrospective cohort study including over 102,000 patients in Ontario, Canada, explored this relationship among patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Analyses revealed that anesthesia handovers were associated with poorer outcomes (i.e., higher 30-day and one-year mortality rates, longer hospitalizations and intensive care unit stays) compared with patients who had the same anesthesiologist throughout their procedure.