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J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2013 Sep;12(3):227-34. doi: 10.3171/2013.5.PEDS12514. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

United Kingdom 30-day mortality rates after surgery for pediatric central nervous system tumors.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.



In an increasing culture of medical accountability, 30-day operative mortality rates remain one of the most objective measurements reported for the surgical field. The authors report population-based 30-day postoperative mortality rates among children who had undergone CNS tumor surgery in the United Kingdom.


To determine overall 30-day operative mortality rates, the authors analyzed the National Registry of Childhood Tumors for CNS tumors for the period 2004-2007. The operative mortality rate for each tumor category was derived. In addition, comparison was made with the 30-day operative mortality rates after CNS tumor surgery reported in the contemporary literature. Finally, by use of a funnel plot, institutional performance for 30-day operative mortality was compared for all units across the United Kingdom.


The overall 30-day operative mortality rate for children undergoing CNS tumor surgery in the United Kingdom during the study period was 2.7%. When only malignant CNS tumors were analyzed, the rate increased to 3.5%. One third of the deaths occurred after discharge from the hospital in which the surgery had been performed. The highest 30-day operative mortality rate (19%) was for patients with choroid plexus carcinomas. A total of 20 institutions performed CNS tumor surgery during the study period. Rates for all institutions fell within 2 SDs. No trend associating operative mortality rates and institutional volume was found. In comparison, review of the contemporary literature suggests that the postoperative mortality rate should be approximately 1%.


The authors believe this to be the first report of national 30-day surgical mortality rates specifically for children with CNS tumors. The study raises questions about the 30-day mortality rate among children undergoing surgery for CNS tumors. International consensus should be reached on a minimum data set for outcomes and should include 30-day operative mortality rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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