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Anaesth Intensive Care. 2009 Mar;37(2):261-6.

The effect of increasing operating room capacity on day-of-surgery cancellation.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.


Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the utilisation of the operating room, a fixed resource, in terms of conditions that prevent day-of-surgery cancellation due to deficient operative capacity. In this study, we surveyed the causes and overall rates of elective surgery cancellation and then compared the number of cancellations that occurred before and after the installation of additional operating rooms. We surveyed all patients undergoing elective surgery for 100 days prior to and after the installation of additional operating rooms. The causes for cancellations were divided into six categories: departmental issues, abnormal laboratory results, patient denial, inadequate preparation, over-booking and other issues. The departmental causes were further divided into four categories: ward overflow, scheduling date errors, unavailable surgeons and other issues. The number of overall cancelled cases and scheduled cases increased following the increase in operating room capacity, although this increase was not statistically significant. However; the cancellation ratio rose significantly after the operating room capacity was increased. The primary reasons for cancellation prior to the increase in operating room capacity were departmental issues, over-booking and abnormal laboratory data, in that order. After the operating room capacity was increased, the primary reasons for cancellation were departmental issues, abnormal laboratory data and over-booking, in that order Taken together the results of this study indicate that increased operating room capacity can prevent cancellation due to over-booking. However; the numbers of cancellations due to ward overflow exceeded the numbers of cancellations that occurred as a result of over-booking. In conclusion, increasing the operating room capacity is not an appropriate option for preventing the cancellation of operations.

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