Irish patients have the highest risk of dying in Western Europe
October 3, 2012 By Dara Gantly
The first large-scale study to explore surgical outcomes across Europe has found that Irish patients have the highest risk of dying in Western Europe and the fourth-worst mortality rate among 28 European countries. Ireland is placed behind Poland, Latvia and Romania in the overall mortality table, published in a recent issue of the Lancet (2012;380:1059-65), but is worse off than Slovakia or Croatia.
However, within Western Europe, patients in Ireland had the worst mortality rates when compared with the UK, with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.61, followed by Italy (OR: 1.70), Belgium (1.65), Portugal (1.43), and France (1.36).
Overall, national estimates of death following general surgery have been too optimistic, the study noted. New estimates generated using a snap-shot of death after surgery in more than 46,000 patients from 500 hospitals in 28 European countries indicate that overall crude mortality is 4 per cent, which is more than double previous estimates.
In the UK, the mortality rate was 3.6 per cent, well above the highest previous estimates of between 1 and 2 per cent. Ireland recorded a rate 6.4 per cent.
Of the 856 Irish patients studied, 66 were admitted to critical care (7.7 per cent) and 55 died in hospital.
Lead author Dr Rupert Pearse from Queen Mary, University of London, stated that nearly three-quarters of patients who died were never admitted to intensive care: “Failure to allocate critical care resources to patients at greatest risk of death is a serious public health concern for patients undergoing surgery in Europe.”
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