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Overlapping Surgery Appears Safe for Common Procedures

No significant difference seen in in-hospital mortality, complication rates, but surgery length increased

TUESDAY, Feb. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Overlapping surgery is not associated with differences in in-hospital mortality or complication rates but is linked to increased surgery length, according to a study published in the Feb. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Eric Sun, M.D., Ph.D., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of 66,430 operations in patients aged 18 to 90 years. Participants were undergoing total knee or hip arthroplasty, spine surgery, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, and craniotomy.

Overall, 12 percent of the surgeries were overlapping. The researchers found that overlapping surgery was not associated with a significant difference in in-hospital mortality (1.9 percent overlapping versus 1.6 percent non-overlapping) or risk for complications (12.8 percent overlapping versus 11.8 percent non-overlapping) after adjustment for confounders. There was a significant association for overlapping surgery with increased surgery length (204 versus 173 minutes). Compared with low-risk patients, among patients with a high preoperative predicted risk for mortality and complications, overlapping surgery was significantly associated with increased mortality and increased complications (mortality, 5.8 versus 4.7 percent; complications, 29.2 versus 27.0 percent).

“While the overall findings of the study suggest that overlapping surgeries appear to be safe, we found evidence that this may not be true for all patients and all procedures,” Sun said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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