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June 1929


Author Affiliations

Epidemiologist, Pennsylvania Department of Health HARRISBURG, PA.

Arch Surg. 1929;18(6):2264-2270. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1929.01140150028004

"Operative mortality" is a term frequently encountered in surgical literature and used, apparently, to include the proportion of deaths which occur soon after operations. The reports of the percentage of deaths which quickly follow operations and which are regarded as operative mortality vary so widely for the same operation by different surgeons that it is evident that there has been no attempt to standardize the expression nor to explain its meaning or inclusion. Some writers report "hospital mortality," and others simply "mortality"; the former is definite, the latter undefined.

Some variation in operative or in a definite chronologic mortality may be expected, but great variations should be explained as Jones has done1 with Miles' reports on operations on patients with cancer of the rectum in whom the mortality varied from 9 to 36 per cent, depending on the mode of anesthetization. The operative mortality will, of course, depend on