Postoperative complications in the first 24 hours: a general surgery audit
Article first published online: 19 MAY 2004
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 46, Issue 6, pages 633–640, June 2004
How to Cite
Zeitz, K., McCutcheon, H. and Albrecht, A. (2004), Postoperative complications in the first 24 hours: a general surgery audit. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 46: 633–640. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2004.03054.x
- Issue published online: 19 MAY 2004
- Article first published online: 19 MAY 2004
- Submitted for publication 31 October 2002 Accepted for publication 9 January 2004
- record audit;
Background. Traditionally, the purpose of routine postoperative surveillance has been to detect postoperative complications. The literature reports well-documented, procedure-specific postoperative complication rates. However, there are no reports detailing the prevalence of postoperative complications in general surgical ward settings, where nurses care for patients following a variety of surgical procedures.
Aims. This paper reports an audit of the frequency and type of postoperative complications in a general surgical population occurring in the first 24 hours postoperatively.
Method. A patient record audit was undertaken for all postoperative patients who returned to two general surgical wards. This was conducted sequentially, involving a 4 week data collection phase in each participating ward during 2001.
Results. The audit sample comprised 144 patient records with an average patient age of 54 years. Statistically significant results included the rate of postoperative nausea and vomiting of 37·5% (n = 54), and 17% (n = 25) of patients experiencing another ‘clinical event’.
Limitations. The findings reflect only those complications recorded/documented in postoperative patients’ records, and cannot be generalized beyond the sample and setting.
Conclusions. Postoperative patients cared for on general surgical wards experienced a high level of nausea and vomiting, while the occurrence of life-threatening complications was small.