Complications and Failure to Rescue After Inpatient Pediatric Surgery

Jorge I. Portuondo*, Sohail R. Shah, Mehul V. Raval, I. Wen E. Pan, Huirong Zhu, Sara C. Fallon, Alex H.S. Harris, Hardeep Singh, Nader N. Massarweh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the frequency and patterns of postoperative complications and FTR after inpatient pediatric surgical procedures and to evaluate the association between number of complications and FTR. Summary and Background: FTR, or a postoperative death after a complication, is currently a nationally endorsed quality measure for adults. Although it is a contributing factor to variation in mortality, relatively little is known about FTR after pediatric surgery. Methods: Cohort study of 200,554 patients within the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program-Pediatric database (2012-2016) who underwent a high (≥1%) or low (< 1%) mortality risk inpatient surgical procedures. Patients were stratified based on number of postoperative complications (0, 1, 2, or ≥3) and further categorized as having undergone either a low- or high-risk procedure. The association between the number of postoperative complications and FTR was evaluated with multivariable logistic regression. Results: Among patients who underwent a low- (89.4%) or high-risk (10.6%) procedures, 14.0% and 12.5% had at least 1 postoperative complication, respectively. FTR rates after low- and high-risk procedures demonstrated step-wise increases as the number of complications accrued (eg, low-risk-9.2% in patients with ≥3 complications; high-risk-36.9% in patients with ≥3 complications). Relative to patients who had no complications, there was a dose-response relationship between mortality and the number of complications after low-risk [1 complication - odds ratio (OR) 3.34 (95% CI 2.62-4.27); 2 - OR 10.15 (95% CI 7.40-13.92); ≥3-27.48 (95% CI 19.06-39.62)] and high-risk operations [1 - OR 3.29 (2.61-4.16); 2-7.24 (5.14-10.19); ≥3-20.73 (12.62-34.04)]. Conclusions: There is a dose-response relationship between the number of postoperative complications after inpatient surgery and FTR, ever after common, "minor" surgical procedures. These findings suggest FTR may be a potential quality measure for pediatric surgical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E239-E246
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • complications
  • failure to rescue
  • pediatric surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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