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Med Care. 2013 May;51(5):425-9. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e31828d1489.

Effectiveness of the surgical safety checklist in a high standard care environment.

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Division of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland.

Erratum in

  • Med Care. 2013 Jun;51(6):563.



Use of surgical safety checklists has been associated with significant reduction in postoperative surgical site infection (SSI), morbidity, and mortality.


To evaluate the effectiveness of an intraoperative checklist in high-risk surgical patients in a high standard care environment with long-standing regular perioperative safety control programs.


Quasi-experiment pre-post checklist implementation.


Surgical patients above 16 years with an American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score 3-5 operated upon at a large tertiary hospital.


Unplanned return to operating room for any reason, reoperation for SSI, unplanned admission to intensive care unit, and in-hospital death within 30 days.


A total of 609 patients (53% elective, 85% ASA 3, mean age 70 y) were included before and 1818 after implementation (52% elective, 87% ASA 3, mean age 69 y), the latter with 552, 558, and 708 in period I, II, and III, respectively. Comparing preimplementation to postimplementation periods: unplanned return to operating room occurred in 45/609 (7.4%) versus 109/1818 (6.0%) interventions [adjusted risk ratios (RR) 0.82; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.59-1.14]; reoperation for SSI in 18/609 (3.0%) versus 109/1818 (1.7%) interventions (adjusted RR 0.56; 95% CI, 0.32-1.00); unplanned admission to intensive care unit in 17 (2.8%) versus 48 (2.6%) interventions (adjusted RR 0.90; 95% CI, 0.52-1.55); and in-hospital death occurred in 26 (4.3%) versus 108 (5.9%) patients (adjusted RR 1.44; 95% CI, 0.97-2.14). Checklist use during 77 interventions prevented 1 reoperation for SSI.


A trend toward reduced reoperation rates for SSI was observed after checklist implementation in this high standard care environment; no influence on other outcome measures was observed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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