Life Support after High-Risk Surgery: Are Patients and Surgeons on the Same Page?

January 18, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​Surgeons and patients contemplating high-risk surgery often assume a mutual understanding regarding postoperative life support in the event of complications, but patients "hold a broad range of preferences for treatment limitations" and often do not discuss them with their surgeon preoperatively, according to a study in the January 2017 Annals of Surgery. The researchers recorded conversations between surgeons in three cities and 43 patients contemplating high-risk surgery. Most patients also had family members present during this discussion. The researchers also conducted preoperative and postoperative interviews with patients or family members. During preoperative meetings, the surgeons discussed the risks of the procedure and the "routine use of postoperative intensive care."

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