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Dis Colon Rectum. 1996 Feb;39(2):129-35.

Variations in colon and rectal surgical mortality. Comparison of specialties with a state-legislated database.

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  • 1Division of Colon/Rectal Surgery, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA.



This study was designed to examine variations in operative mortality among surgical specialists who perform colorectal surgery.


Mortality rates were compared between six board-certified colorectal surgeons and 33 other institutional surgeons using comparable colorectal procedure codes and a validated database indicating patient severity of illness. Thirty-five ICD-9-CM procedure codes were used to identify 2,805 patients who underwent colorectal surgery as their principal procedure between July 1986 and April 1994. Atlas, a state-legislated outcome database, was used by the hospital's Quality Assurance Department to rank the Admission Severity Group (ASG) of 1,753 patients from January 1989 to April 1994 (higher ASG, 0 to 4, indicates increasing medical instability).


Colorectal surgeons had an eight-year mean in-hospital mortality rate of 1.4 percent compared with 7.3 percent by other institutional surgeons (P = 0.0001). There was a significantly lower mortality rate for colorectal surgeons compared with other institutional surgeons in ASG 2 (0.8 and 3.8 percent, respectively; P = 0.026) and ASG 3 (5.7 and 16.4 percent, respectively; P = 0.001).


Board-certified colorectal surgeons had a lower in-hospital mortality rate than other institutional surgeons as patients' severity of illness increased.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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