Research by a team of ESCP members suggests that at least 4.2 million people worldwide die within 30 days of surgery each year, with the number of postoperative deaths accounting for 7.7% of all deaths globally.

Despite 313 million surgical procedures performed worldwide annually, robust reports of postoperative death rates are only available for 29 countries.

The research findings suggests that although there is a pressing need to expand surgical services to populations that are underserved, this expansion must be done in tandem with initiatives to reduce postoperative deaths.

It concludes by suggesting measurement of surgical outcomes is essential to monitoring global progress in addressing the burden of postoperative deaths.

Dr Dmitri Nepogodiev, Research Fellow at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery, commented:

“Surgery has been the 'neglected stepchild' of global health and has received a fraction of the investment put in to treating infectious diseases such as malaria. Although not all postoperative deaths are avoidable, many can be prevented by increasing investment in research, staff training, equipment, and better hospital facilities. To avoid millions more people dying after surgery, planned expansion of access to surgery must be complemented by investment in to improving the quality of surgery around the world.”

Dion MortonDion Morton, collaborating co-author of ‘Global burden of postoperative death’ said:

“ESCP is making a major contribution to improving surgical care. This Lancet article, written by our members, highlights the importance of this work in improving global health.

“This year ESCP will be evaluating the management of acute colitis, the impact of robotic-assisted surgery and a study to improve anastomosis to prevent leaks. These studies will involve patients and surgeons from over 50 countries.”

Read the full article discussing the results of the research here

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