Studies Show Dramatic Improvement in Surgery- and Anesthesia-Related Mortality

September 26, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Perioperative mortality has decreased significantly worldwide even as patient baseline risk has increased over the past 50 years, according to a review of 87 studies published in the September 22, 2012, Lancet. For example, anesthesia-related mortality decreased from a high of 357 deaths per million patients in the 1970s to a low of 34 per million in the 1990s and 2000s—a decrease of more than 90%. Similarly, overall perioperative mortality fell from 10,603 per million patients in the 1970s to 1,176 per million in the 1990s and 2000s. During the same time, patient complexity and risk, as measured by the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ physical status classification system, increased significantly.

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