• Choledochostomy in the period from 1916 to 1938 had a mortality risk of 16%. The corresponding figure for the period 1948 to 1952 was 2%. Similar declines in mortality risks are found for eight other types of surgical operation.
Earlier figures for operative mortality showed a significant difference between old and young patients. The difference has become insignificant in recent figures because the prognosis for older patients is now so much better.
The degree to which a patient's strength has been undermined by a long period of preoperative stress is difficult to evaluate. It is one important factor in determining operative risk; another factor is the efficiency of the surgical team. The importance of other factors has been so greatly reduced that there is need for reappraisal of surgical mortality rates.
Moyer CA, Key JA. ESTIMATION OF OPERATIVE RISK IN 1955. JAMA. 1956;160(10):853–855. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960450035008