Imperial in the news: surgery shock

Last week it was widely reported, following a study at Imperial, that elective surgery towards the end of the week had an increased risk of death for the patients.

Surgery towards the end of the week resulted in an increase in mortality rates

Operations on Fridays were 44 per cent more likely to result in death than those on Monday, reported the study that appeared in the British Medical Journal. However, the overall risk remained low; the average risk of death within 30 days of surgery was 0.67 per cent – just over 27,000 out of four million operation data recorded.

Dr Paul Aylin (School of Public Health) led the study. He said: “The first 48 hours after an operation are often the most critical period of care for surgery patients.

“So if the quality of care is lower at the weekend as some previous studies have suggested, we would expect to see higher mortality rates not just for patients operated on at the weekend, but also those who have operations towards the end of the week, whose postoperative care overlaps with the weekend. That is what we found.”

Outlets across the country featured the story, from the Guardian to The Daily Telegraph, including a live interview with Dr Aylin on the BBC. It prompted a response from Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS, who spoke about some of the implications with ITN.

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