The most dangerous time for a surgery patient is not inside the operating room, it is during the recovery period, according to a study. The study found that people need more care in the 30 days after an operation.

The research published in the medical journal CMAJ on Monday focussed on the various risk factors associated with non-cardiac surgeries. The research found that the riskiest time for many patients post surgery was while their body was recovering from the operation, in the hospital or at home.

More than 100 million people aged 45 and above undergo non-cardiac surgeries every year, the study reported. The research also stated that various medical and technological advancements have made surgery less invasive and safer in the recent years.

But the patients are transferred to the postoperative care and then discharged long before complete recovery. These patients will need extra care and attention during the first 30 days of operation, the researchers noted.

“Many families anxiously wait to hear from the surgeon whether their loved one survived the operation, but our research demonstrates that very few of the deaths occur in the operating room,” lead researcher PJ Devereaux, who is the director of the Division of Perioperative Care at McMaster University in Canada, told Reuters.

“Our research now demonstrates that there is a need to focus on postoperative care and transitional care into the home setting to improve outcomes,” the researcher added.

For the study, the researchers observed a total of 40,004 patients aged 45 and above to find out various complications and deaths within 30 days of operation. All the participants had undergone non-cardiac surgeries at 28 different hospitals in 14 countries.

Roughly 30 percent of the study participants had high blood pressure, 13 percent had coronary artery disease and one in every five patient had diabetes, the study reported.

Over one-third of the patients come to the hospital for low-risk procedures, which were not emergencies. Rest of the patients had major orthopaedic, general, urological, vascular, neurological or gynecological operations.

Of total participants in the study, 715 patients, or 1.8 percent, died within 30 days of surgery. The researchers found that less than 1 percent of these patients, or five people, died on the operating table. But the number was much higher in “postoperative care and transitional care”. A total of 500 patients, or 70 percent, died in the hospital and more than 200 patients, or 29 percent, died at home. 

The researchers also found that almost half of the deaths were caused due to three complications: bloodstream infections, heart damage and major bleeding.

The patients who experienced a serious bloodstream infection or who got sepsis were more than five times more likely to die within a month of the operation than those who did not get any infection, the study found.

The researchers also found that patients who developed heart injuries were more than twice likely to die within in 30 days after operation even though they did not have any heart surgery.

And the patients who experienced major bleeding after operation were also more than twice as likely to die within a month of the surgery compared to those who did not have any complications.

Surgery Riskiest Time For Surgery Patients Is After Operation Photo: Pixabay/sasint