Delayed elective surgery in a major teaching hospital in Uganda
Isaac Kajja,1 Cees Th Smit Sibinga2
1Department of Orthopedics, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda; 2ID Consulting for International Development of Transfusion Medicine (IDTM), Groningen, The Netherlands
Background: A number of factors come into play in determining the timing of an elective surgical intervention, particularly in the developing world. The present study explores the factors that contribute to the timing of elective surgery and patients' opinions on their quality of life as they wait for surgery.
Methods: We followed adult patients with delayed elective surgical interventions (n=204). The causes for the delay and, particularly, the influence of blood shortage on the timing of the procedure were noted. Patients' perceptions on their quality of life as they waited for surgery were also noted.
Results: We were able to establish a cause for delayed elective surgery in 133 patients. Shortage of operating space was the leading cause of surgery delay in 44 patients, while blood shortage followed closely in 40 patients. The higher the amount of blood ordered for use in the perioperative time, the longer the delay to surgery (P=0.001). Patients waiting for surgery had a low opinion of their in-hospital quality of life. Here, the key indicators included the threat of losing a job, limited family time, and an increase in day-to-day living costs.
Conclusion: Blood shortage is the second most common cause of the delayed performance of elective surgical interventions in our institution. The patients have a low opinion on their quality of life as they wait for surgery.
Keywords: blood shortage, delayed elective surgery, quality of life
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