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Investigation of urology intraoperative events leading to root cause analysis at national VA medical centers
Department of Urology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Apr  2023 (Vol.  30, Issue  2, Pages( 11467 - 11472)
PMID: 37074745


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  • Introduction:

    Adverse events in urologic procedures are poorly studied. This study analyzes the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Root Cause Analysis (RCA) data for patient safety adverse events during urologic procedures performed in a VHA operating room (OR).

    Materials and methods:

    The VHA National Center for Patient Safety RCA database was queried for fiscal years 2015-2019 using urologic terms including vasectomy, prostatectomy, nephrectomy, cystectomy, cystoscopy, lithotripsy, ureteroscopy, urethral, TURBT, etc. RCAs for events outside a VHA OR were excluded. Cases were categorized based on type of event.


    Sixty-eight RCAs were identified for 319,713 urologic procedures. The most common pattern identified was equipment or instrument issue, including broken scopes or smoking light cords, with 22 cases. Eighteen RCAs involved a sentinel event, including 12 retained surgical items (RSI) (surgical sponge, retained guidewire) and 6 wrong site surgeries (WSS) (incorrect laterality, wrong procedure) representing a serious safety event rate of 1 in 17,762 procedures. In addition, 8 RCAs pertained to medical or anesthesia events (incorrect dosing, postoperative myocardial infarction), 7 to pathology errors (missing or mislabeled specimen), 4 to incorrect patient information or consent, and 4 to surgical complications (hemorrhage, duodenal injury). In 2 cases there was inappropriate work up. One case caused a delay in treatment, one case had an incorrect count, and one case identified lack of credentialing.


    RCAs of patient safety adverse events occurring during urologic OR procedures highlight the need for targeted quality improvement projects to prevent WSS events, prevent RSI events, and maintain properly functioning equipment.