Geneva and Washington Dc (ots/PRNewswire) - With major
surgery now occurring at a rate of 234 million procedures per year -
one for every 25 people - and studies indicating that a significant
percentage result in preventable complications and deaths, the World
Health Organization (WHO) launched a new safety checklist for
surgical teams to use in operating theatres, as part of a major drive
to make surgery safer around the world.
To view the Multimedia News Release, please click:
"Preventable surgical injuries and deaths are now a growing
concern," said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. "Using the
Checklist is the best way to reduce surgical errors and improve
Several studies have shown that in industrial countries major
complications are reported to occur in 3-16% of inpatient surgical
procedures, with permanent disability or death rates of approximately
0.4-0.8%. In developing countries studies suggest a death rates of
5-10 % during major surgery. Mortality from general anaesthesia alone
is reported to be as high as one in 150 in parts of sub-Saharan
Africa. Infections and other postoperative complications are also a
serious concern around the world. These studies suggest that
approximately half of these complications may be preventable.
"Surgical care has been an essential component of health systems
worldwide for more than a century.' said Dr Atul Gawande, a surgeon
and professor at Harvard. "Although there have been major
improvements over the last few decades, the quality and safety of
surgical care has been dismayingly variable in every part of the
world. The Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative aims to change this by
raising the standards that patients anywhere can expect."
The Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative is a collaborative effort
lead by the Harvard School of Public Health today and involving more
than 200 national and international medical societies and ministries
of health in a effort to meet the goal of reducing avoidable deaths
and complications in surgical care. Now, the WHO Surgical Safety
Checklist, developed under the leadership of, Dr Gawande identifies a
set of surgical safety standards that can be applied in all countries
and health settings.
Preliminary results from a thousand patients in eight pilot sites
worldwide indicate that the checklist has nearly doubled the
likelihood that patients will receive proven standards of surgical
care. Use of the checklist in pilot sites has increased adherence to
these standards of care from 36% to 68% and in some hospitals to
levels approaching 100%. This has thus far resulted in substantial
reductions in complications and deaths in this group. Final results
on the checklist effect are anticipated within the next few months.
The checklist identifies three phases of an operation, each
corresponding to a specific period in the normal flow of work: before
induction of anaesthesia ('Sign In'), before skin incision ('Time
Out') and before the patient leaves the operating room ('Sign Out').
In each phase a checklist coordinator must be permitted to confirm
that the team has completed its tasks before it proceeds with the
operation. For example, during the "Sign in" phase was the surgical
site marked and the patient's know allergies checked , or during the
"Sign out" phase where instruments, sponges and needles counted.
The WHO Guidelines and Checklist released today are the first
edition. They will be finalized for dissemination by the end of 2008,
after completion of evaluation in 8 pilot sites globally.
Notes to Editor:
* More information about the second Global Patient Safety
Challenge Safe Surgery Saves Lives can be seen at
* The World Alliance for Patient Safety is a World Health
Organization programme launched in 2004. The Alliance is chaired by
Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer of the United Kingdom.
Further information on the work of the Alliance is available at
* The World Alliance for Patient Safety issues its 2006-2007
Progress Report and 2008-2009 Forward Programme on the 25 June 2008.
Further information on the Alliance reports is available at
All press releases, fact sheets and other WHO media material may
be found at http://www.who.int
ots Originaltext: World Health Organization (WHO)
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch
For more information, please contact: Edward Kelley, Mobile:
+41-79-509-0645, E-mail: email@example.com; Martin Fletcher, Tel:
+44-7980-616-992, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.