Orthopedic trauma surgery has multiple, both patient-based and surgeon-based risk factors. Evaluating and modifying certain patient safety factors could mitigate some of these risks. This study investigates the influence that the time of day of surgery has on mortality and complication rates.
This study evaluates whether the time of day of orthopedic trauma surgery influences complication or mortality rates.
Patients and methods
A prospective Swiss surgical database developed as a nationwide quality assurance project was reviewed retrospectively. All patients with trauma-coded diagnoses that were surgically treated in Swiss hospitals between 2004 and 2014 were evaluated. Surgery times were stratified into morning, afternoon, evening and night. The primary outcomes were in-hospital mortality and complication rates. Co-factors were sought in bivariate and multivariable analysis.
Of 31,692 patients, 13,969 (44.3%) were operated in the morning, 12,696 (40.3%) in the afternoon, 4,331 (13.7%) in the evening, and 550 (1.7%) at night. Mortality rates were significantly higher in nighttime (2.4%, OR 1.26, p=0.04) and afternoon surgery (1.7%, OR 1.94, p=0.03) vs. surgery in the morning (1.1%). Surgery performed in the afternoon and at night showed significantly increased general complication rates vs. surgery performed in the morning. (OR 1.22, p=0.006 and OR 1.51, p=0.021, respectively).
This study observed higher complication and mortality rates for surgery performed after-hours, which correlates with other recent studies. Surgeon fatigue is a potential contributing factor for these increased risks. Other potential factors include surgeon experience, surgery type, and the potential for more severe or emergent injuries occurring after-hours.