Evaluating Metrics for Quality: Death on the Same Day of Elective Pediatric Surgery

David C. Chang, Daniel S. Rhee, Yiyi Zhang, Jose H. Salazar, Kristin Chrouser, Shelly Choo, Paul M. Colombani, Fizan Abdullah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Surgical mortality is considered a benchmark for measuring quality of care. This study quantifies the incidence of death on the day of elective pediatric surgery, which generally is considered preventable and might be considered a "never" event. The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of national state inpatient databases from 1988 to 2007 that included elective pediatric surgical patients. A descriptive analysis of same-day mortality by demographics, surgical specialties, and age was performed. Of 835 880 elective pediatric surgical cases identified, 174 patients died on the day of surgery-that is, 2.1 deaths/10 000 cases. Surgical specialty mortality rates ranged from 0.06 (otolaryngology) to 17.4 (cardiothoracic surgery) deaths per 10 000 cases. Death on the day of elective pediatric surgery is rare, limiting its utility to compare performance in pediatric surgery. However, this metric may be useful at individual institutions as a case-finding tool for root-cause analysis in quality improvement efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • mortality
  • outcomes
  • patient safety
  • pediatric surgery
  • quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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