The pediatric neurosurgery practice over 2 years was reviewed at a tertiary neurosciences center. The intention was to establish the frequency of unplanned reoperations at the center, investigate the factors responsible, and consider using unplanned reoperations as a quality indicator.
All pediatric neurosurgical operations done between January 2008 and January 2010 were reviewed using data from operation theater logs and hospital records. Data were recorded as per the standard requirements of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons for incorporation into the national database. “Unplanned reoperation” was defined as any unscheduled secondary procedure required for a complication resulting directly or indirectly from the index operation or as an unscheduled return to the operating theater for the same condition. Operations were defined as “urgent” if they had to be performed out of hours (that is, outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), “emergency elective” if they were included on the emergency list but within working hours, and “routine elective” if they were on the scheduled operations list. Both overall and 30-day unplanned reoperation rates were considered. Factors influencing unplanned reoperations were explored using a logistic regression model.
Four hundred ten operations were analyzed. The overall unplanned reoperation rate was 28%. The median time to an unplanned reoperation was 9 days. Risk factors for unplanned reoperations included a CSF diversion procedure (OR 7, p < 0.0001) and an urgent procedure (OR 2.5, p = 0.02, higher unplanned reoperations for urgent procedures relative to routine electives). The 30-day unplanned reoperation rate was 17%. Urgent cases composed 32% of all operations. Trainees performed 52% of the urgent operations. Forty-four percent of all operations were related to CSF diversion. Sixty-four percent of patients had reoperations during the course of the study period, and 44% of these reoperations were unplanned.
An unplanned return to the operation theater is common in the authors' pediatric neurosurgical practice and is procedure specific. Unplanned reoperation rates may be useful for monitoring quality across hospitals and identifying opportunities for quality improvement. The authors propose the use of this index as a quality indicator and advocate its validation in a prospective multicenter study.