Analysis of the causes and effects of delay before diagnosis using surgical mortality data
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Background: The aim of the study was to assess the causes and effects of delay in diagnosis in surgical patients who died in 20 public hospitals participating in the Queensland Audit of Surgical Mortality (QASM) in Australia. Methods: This was a retrospective cross-sectional analysis (June 2007 to December 2011) of deaths reported to QASM. Deaths were assigned to one of two groups (no delay or delay in diagnosis). Logistic regression was used to compare the association of delay with surgical complications, both overall and by surgical specialty. Results: A total of 3139 deaths were reported. Diagnostic delay was reported in 293 (9·3 per cent). The primary cause of delay was attributed to diagnostic support services (41·7 per cent). Some 174 (13·8 per cent) of 1259 general (gastrointestinal) surgery patients experienced delayed diagnosis. Delay across all surgical specialties was associated with an increased risk of unplanned return to theatre (odds ratio (OR) 1·77, 95 per cent confidence interval 1·24 to 2·52), of being treated in intensive care (OR 1·71, 1·15 to 2·54) and of postoperative complications (OR 1·39, 1·05 to 1·85). Conclusion: General (gastrointestinal) surgery patients who experienced delayed diagnosis were at increased risk of postoperative complications. Copyright © 2012 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
British Journal of Surgery
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified