Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Surg. 2004 Nov;188(5):566-70.

Evaluating alternative risk-adjustment strategies for surgery.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.



Comparison of institutional health care outcomes requires risk adjustment. Risk-adjustment methodology may influence the results of such comparisons.


We compared 3 risk-adjustment methodologies used to assess the quality of surgical care. Nurse reviewers abstracted data from a continuous sample of 2,167 surgical patients at 3 academic institutions. One risk adjustor was based on medical record data (National Surgical Quality Improvement Program [NSQIP]) whereas the other 2, the DxCG and Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), primarily used International Classification of Disease-9 (ICD-9) codes. Risk-assessment scores from the 3 systems were compared with each other and with mortality.


Substantial disagreement was found in the risk assessment calculated by the 3 methodologies. Although there was a weak association between the CCI and DxCG, neither correlated well with the NSQIP. The NSQIP was best able to predict mortality, followed by the DxCG and CCI.


In surgical patients, different risk-adjustment methodologies afford divergent estimates of mortality risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk