MORE than 900 people go into cardiac arrest on the operating table every year, an NHS study suggests.
It is a tiny proportion of total surgeries – around 0.03 per cent or 3 in 10,000 – and half are resuscitated and survive long enough to go home.
Elderly people and those with severe injuries are more likely to die in surgery[/caption]
University of Bristol experts looked at data from all UK NHS hospitals from June 2021 to June 2022.
They found over-75s and trauma surgery patients are most at risk of their heart stopping during or shortly after going under general anaesthetic.
The rate is lower than estimates from the USA (5.7 per 10,000) or Brazil (13 per 10,000).
Dr Fiona Donald, of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said: “Several million patients have surgery each year and this shows that their risk of a cardiac arrest is very low.”
The study found evidence of more than 900 cardiac arrests in around 300 hospitals, and used information from 881 patients for the analysis.
Writing in the journal Anaesthesia, experts said people were more likely to survive than if they had a cardiac arrest at home or in another hospital department.
Professor Tim Cook, from Bristol University, said: “Eighty per cent of patients were successfully resuscitated and more than half managed to leave hospital.
“To put this in context, only 23 per cent of patients who have a cardiac arrest elsewhere in hospital survive to leave.”
Bristol NHS consultant Dr Jasmeet Soar added: “As patients undergoing surgery have become older and less healthy in the last decade, it is inevitable that major complications including cardiac arrest will occur.”