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BACKGROUND: Use of surgical safety checklists has been associated with significant reduction in postoperative surgical site infection (SSI), morbidity, and mortality. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intraoperative checklist in high-risk surgical patients in a high standard care environment with long-standing regular perioperative safety control programs. RESEARCH DESIGN: Quasi-experiment pre-post checklist implementation. SUBJECTS: Surgical patients above 16 years with an American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score 3-5 operated upon at a large tertiary hospital. MEASURES: Unplanned return to operating room for any reason, reoperation for SSI, unplanned admission to intensive care unit, and in-hospital death within 30 days. RESULTS: A total of 609 patients (53% elective, 85% ASA 3, mean age 70 y) were included before and 1818 after implementation (52% elective, 87% ASA 3, mean age 69 y), the latter with 552, 558, and 708 in period I, II, and III, respectively. Comparing preimplementation to postimplementation periods: unplanned return to operating room occurred in 45/609 (7.4%) versus 109/1818 (6.0%) interventions [adjusted risk ratios (RR) 0.82; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.59-1.14]; reoperation for SSI in 18/609 (3.0%) versus 109/1818 (1.7%) interventions (adjusted RR 0.56; 95% CI, 0.32-1.00); unplanned admission to intensive care unit in 17 (2.8%) versus 48 (2.6%) interventions (adjusted RR 0.90; 95% CI, 0.52-1.55); and in-hospital death occurred in 26 (4.3%) versus 108 (5.9%) patients (adjusted RR 1.44; 95% CI, 0.97-2.14). Checklist use during 77 interventions prevented 1 reoperation for SSI. CONCLUSIONS: A trend toward reduced reoperation rates for SSI was observed after checklist implementation in this high standard care environment; no influence on other outcome measures was observed.

Original publication




Journal article


Medical care

Publication Date





425 - 429


Division of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland.


Humans, Surgical Wound Infection, Surgical Procedures, Operative, Reoperation, Hospital Mortality, Risk Factors, Aged, Health Services Research, Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care), Female, Male, Checklist, Propensity Score, Quality Improvement, Patient Safety