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Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Releases March Advisory
Date:3/31/2009

Reports Show Patients Whose Medical Conditions Are Not Detected Prior to Surgery in an ASF are at Increased Risk for Complications After Surgery that Require Hospitalization

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patients who are not screened or assessed properly prior to surgery in an ambulatory surgical facility (ASF) are at increased risk for complications after surgery that require hospitalization, according to data released in the 2009 March Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory.

Of the 467 reports submitted to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority between June 2004 and December 2008, 203 (43%) are Serious Events or events that caused harm to the patient and most often required the patient to be transferred to a hospital. Half the total reports (234) involved an older patient (over age 65) and 23 reports (5%) involved a child.

"Our data shows many ambulatory surgical facilities need to improve their screening and assessment processes prior to accepting patients for surgery. Of the total reports, one hundred and twenty-four or twenty-seven percent show a need for an improved process in their facilities," Mike Doering, executive director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority said. "Patients can help by making sure they tell their healthcare provider about any existing conditions they have, including heart or respiratory conditions, that would increase their risk of complications."

Additionally, Doering said patients who know or suspect they have medical conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), cardiovascular disease, hyperactive reactive airway disease, obesity or end-stage renal disease need to let their healthcare provider know prior to surgery to help avoid an unfavorable outcome. He added that sometimes the patient does not know. For example, OSA is undiagnosed in an estimated 80 percent of affected patients.

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
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