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Study reveals risk for complications after noncardiac surgery

Arizona residents who have been hospitalized for noncardiac surgery will want to know about a new study that points out a certain risk. According to the data, those who undergo noncardiac surgery may develop complications that lead to heart attack, stroke or death.

Researchers looked at over 10 million hospitalizations in the U.S. between 2004 and 2013 and found these complications in 317,000 cases. That amounts to 3 percent, or 1 in 33, of all U.S. hospitalizations for noncardiac surgery. Researchers further estimate that every year in this country, there are 150,000 cases of heart attack or stroke following noncardiac surgery. And this may be an underestimate.

Noncardiac surgery fatalities and heart attacks have declined between 2004 and 2013, but the study notes that several factors may be skewing this particular piece of data. Hospitals are discharging their patients sooner and not following up on their conditions. Most are probably failing to look for heart attack biomarkers. Pain medicine can also mask certain heart attack symptoms.

Those who underwent surgery in the chest, surgery on a major blood vessel or an organ transplant were at the highest risk for complications. Those who developed complications were more likely to be men, be older and have cardiovascular risk factors. These include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

When complications develop because of a preventable surgical error, victims may be eligible for compensation under malpractice law. However, it must be shown that there was an existing doctor-patient relationship and that the patient followed all the doctor's instructions. This is where a lawyer can come in and hire third parties to gather the necessary proof. A victim can leave negotiations to their lawyer as well, and if a settlement cannot be reached, they can prepare the case for court.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

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