Background: Surgical interventions occur at lower rates in resource-poor settings, and complication and death rates following surgery are probably substantial but have not been well quantified. A deeper understanding of outcomes is a crucial step to ensure that high quality accompanies increased global access to surgical care. We aimed to assess surgical mortality following three common surgical procedures--caesarean delivery, appendectomy, and groin (inguinal and femoral) hernia repair--to quantify the potential risks of expanding access without simultaneously addressing issues of quality and safety.
Methods: We collected demographic, health, and economic data for 113 countries classified as low income or lower-middle income by the World Bank in 2005. We did a systematic review of Ovid, MEDLINE, PubMed, and Scopus from Jan 1, 2000, to Jan 15, 2015, to identify studies in these countries reporting all-cause mortality following the three commonly undertaken operations. Reports from governmental and other agencies were also identified and included. We modelled surgical mortality rates for countries without reported data using a two-step multiple imputation method. We first used a fully conditional specification (FCS) multiple imputation method to establish complete datasets for all missing variables that we considered potentially predictive of surgical mortality. We then used regression-based predictive mean matching imputation methods, specified within the multiple imputation FCS method, for selected predictors for each operation using the completed dataset to predict mortality rates along with confidence intervals for countries without reported mortality data. To account for variability in data availability, we aggregated results by subregion and estimated surgical mortality rates.
Findings: From an initial 1302 articles and reports identified, 247 full-text articles met our inclusion criteria, and 124 provided data for surgical mortality for at least one of the three selected operations. We identified 42 countries with mortality data for at least one of the three procedures. Median reported mortality was 7·9 per 1000 operations for caesarean delivery (IQR 2·8-19·9), 2·2 per 1000 operations for appendectomy (0·0-17·2), and 4·9 per 1000 operations for groin hernia (0·0-11·7). Perioperative mortality estimates by subregion ranged from 2·8 (South Asia) to 50·2 (East Asia) per 1000 caesarean deliveries, 2·4 (South Asia) to 54·0 (Central sub-Saharan Africa) per 1000 appendectomies, and 0·3 (Andean Latin America) to 25·5 (Southern sub-Saharan Africa) per 1000 hernia repairs.
Interpretation: All-cause postoperative mortality rates are exceedingly variable within resource-constrained environments. Efforts to expand surgical access and provision of services must include a strong commitment to improve the safety and quality of care.
Copyright © 2016 Uribe-Leitz et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.