Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Qual Health Care. 2009 Aug;21(4):285-91. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzp025. Epub 2009 Jun 25.

The incidence of adverse events in Swedish hospitals: a retrospective medical record review study.

Author information

  • 1Department for Supervision of Healthcare Services, National Board of Health and Welfare, 10630 Stockholm, Sweden. michael.soop@socialstyrelsen.se



To estimate the incidence, nature and consequences of adverse events and preventable adverse events in Swedish hospitals.


A three-stage structured retrospective medical record review based on the use of 18 screening criteria.


Twenty-eight Swedish hospitals. Population A representative sample (n = 1967) of the 1.2 million Swedish hospital admissions between October 2003 and September 2004.


Proportion of admissions with adverse events, the proportion of preventable adverse events and the types and consequences of adverse events.


In total, 12.3% (n = 241) of the 1967 admissions had adverse events (95% CI, 10.8-13.7), of which 70% (n = 169) were preventable. Fifty-five percent of the preventable events led to impairment or disability, which was resolved during the admission or within 1 month from discharge, another 33% were resolved within 1 year, 9% of the preventable events led to permanent disability and 3% of the adverse events contributed to patient death. Preventable adverse events led to a mean increased length of stay of 6 days. Ten of the 18 screening criteria were sufficient to detect 90% of the preventable adverse events. When extrapolated to the 1.2 million annual admissions, the results correspond to 105,000 preventable adverse events (95% CI, 90,000-120,000) and 630,000 days of hospitalization (95% CI, 430,000-830,000).


This study confirms that preventable adverse events were common, and that they caused extensive human suffering and consumed a significant amount of the available hospital resources.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk