(HealthDay News) — Over the past decade the frequency of potentially avoidable adverse events after major cancer surgery has increased in secondary and tertiary care hospitals in the United States, according to research published in the June issue of BMJ Open.

Shyam Sukumar, M.D., of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and colleagues conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of a weighted-national estimate of 2,508,917 patients older than 18 years who underwent major cancer surgery from 1999 to 2009. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) were used to identify patterns in hospital-acquired adverse events.

The researchers found that 324,852 patients (12.9 percent) experienced at least one PSI event. Compared with patients without a PSI event, those with one or more PSIs had higher rates of in-hospital mortality (odds ratio [OR], 19.38), longer length of hospital stay (OR, 4.43), and excessive hospital charges (OR, 5.21). During the study period, the frequency of PSI events after major cancer surgery steadily increased (estimated annual percentage change [EAPC], 3.5 percent), but the failure-to-rescue rate (EAPC, −3.01 percent) and overall mortality decreased (EAPC, −2.30 percent).

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“Policy changes to improve the increasing burden of specific adverse events, such as postoperative sepsis, pressure ulcers and respiratory failure, are required,” the authors write.

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