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Correspondence and Brief Communications
April 2002

The Validity of Unplanned Returns to the Operating Room as an Indicator of Quality of Hospital Care

Arch Surg. 2002;137(4):493. doi:

We read with interest the article by Birkmeyer et al,1 who assessed unplanned returns to the operating room (OR) as a quality indicator of a general surgery department. The authors point out that this may be an attractive and useful quality indicator because it is a relatively easy and inexpensive factor to identify with administrative and clinical data.

We conducted a study on the incidence of and risk factors for unplanned return to the OR in the vascular surgery department of Rouen University Hospital (Rouen, France) using the Diagnosis-Related Groups 1997 database. The first part of our study concerned the evaluation of this database's validity. During a 3-month period, the reporting and coding of surgical and anesthetic procedures for patients with unplanned returns to the OR were assessed using OR registers as the standard reference; 99 patients with a return to the OR and 438 patients without were included.

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