Preventable Cardiac Surgical Errors Often A Result Of Teamwork Failures

Wed, 08/07/2013 - 9:06am
Michael Smith

Better communication is the key to improving patient outcomes after cardiac surgery, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association.

A wide-ranging review of evidence, led by Joyce Wahr, MD, of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, called for such things as checklists, preoperative and postoperative briefings, and team training in communication skills.

But the review, published online in Circulation, also cautioned that "research in this area is nascent but informative."

The investigators noted that cardiac surgical operating rooms form "a complex environment" that includes many highly trained people working together and using sophisticated equipment to treat people with severe disease.

"Preventable errors are often not related to failure of technical skill, training, or knowledge," they wrote, "but represent cognitive, system, or teamwork failures."

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