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Specific warning signs of complications in colorectal surgical patients released
Date:2/7/2013

Chicago (February 7, 2013): Colorectal surgical patients are often discharged from the hospital with vague guidance on how to recognize complications, but researchers at the Michael DeBakey Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, aim to change that scenario. A health services research team convened a panel of surgical experts to develop a list of postoperative complication signs that should prompt colorectal surgical patients to call their surgeons or go to an emergency room. The study on the development of this early patient-centered warning system appears in the February 2013 issue of Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Each year, more than 600,000 people undergo operations to treat colon and bowel disorders, including tumors, colon cancer, and bowel obstruction, according to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.* Research has also shown that 11.4 percent of all colorectal surgical patients are back in the hospital 30 days later. The stay lasts about eight days on average and costs the health care system a total of $300 million each year, according to a 2011 study published in the journal Diseases of the Colon & Rectum.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in March 2010, allows the national Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to decline payment to hospitals for some patients who are readmitted after being discharged. "Many hospitals are looking at ACA and readmissions," said study author Linda T. Li, MD, research fellow at the Houston VA Health Services Research Center of Excellence and surgical resident at Baylor's Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery. "We're trying to see if the discharge process has anything to do with readmissions. Everything is under scrutiny."

Dr. Li and her team of health services researchers at the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center set out to define specific warning signs
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
American College of Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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