More people die after surgery than from HIV, TB, and malaria combined: Study

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Washington D.C: A new study reveals that in that world, 4.2 million people die every year within 30 days after surgery. The study also notes that half of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries (LMIC). Researchers at the University of Birmingham published their findings in a research letter to The Lancet, where they estimate that more people die each year within 30 days after surgery than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined (2.97 million ).

The Lancet Commission of Global Surgery identified that 313 million surgical procedures are performed each year, but little is known about the quality of surgery worldwide, since solid postoperative mortality rates are available in only 29 countries.

Researchers from the NIHR Global Health Research Unit at the University of Global Surgery analyzed the number of people dying worldwide after surgery, according to the surgical volume, the combination of cases and the postoperative mortality rates adjusted by the income of the country.

Dr. Dmitri Nepogodiev, a researcher at the University of Birmingham, commented: “Surgery has been the” neglected stepchild “of global health and has received a fraction of the investment in the treatment of infectious diseases such as malaria.”

Nepogodiev also added: “Although not all postoperative deaths are preventable, many can be prevented by increasing investment in research, training of staff, equipment and better hospital facilities. “To prevent millions more from dying after surgery, a planned expansion of access to surgery must be complemented by an investment to improve the quality of surgery worldwide.”

Professor Dion Morton, President of Barling Surgery at the University of Birmingham and Director of Clinical Research at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, commented: “Surgery saves lives and can transform the quality of life of patients, but this study shows that a large number of patients die in the immediate postoperative period.As efforts continue to increase access to surgery worldwide, there is also an urgent need for research to improve the quality and safety of surgery. ”

The researchers’ project is that the expansion of surgical services to meet unmet needs would add another 1.9 million postoperative deaths in LMIC each year. According to 4.2 million deaths, 7.7% of all deaths worldwide occur within 30 days of surgery. This figure is greater than that attributed to any other cause of death worldwide, except ischemic heart disease and stroke.

Currently, around 4.8 billion people worldwide lack timely access to safe and affordable surgery, and it is estimated that there is an annual need not covered by 143 million procedures in LMICs.