Clinical Case Database / Category: Patient Management

Post-operative complications

Publication details

Cavin Gray MBChB, FRCA
Foundation Years Journal, volume 4, issue 2, p.60 (123Doc Education, London, February 2010)


Worldwide it is estimated that approximately 200 to 250 million surgical procedures are performed each year. Many of these patients will suffer from one or more post-operative complications. Definitions of what constitutes a post-operative complication vary but the term generally suggests an adverse occurrence affecting a patient's well-being, which may at the very least delay recovery and in the worst cases result in lasting disability or death. Because of the difficulties in both defining post-operative complications and in gathering data, it is difficult to provide an accurate incidence of their occurrence but some studies have suggested figures as high as 30% or more. Post-operative complications may arise as a direct consequence of the surgical procedure or anaesthesia, or be related to underlying medical conditions and while not all will be serious or life-threatening even those which are mild and self-limiting may, nonetheless, be distressing to patients and since they may require treatment and prolong hospital stay, they may have significant cost implications.

Access the Clinical Cases Database

A subscription is required to read the full article. Please subscribe using one of the options below.

Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database£29.006 months
Add to cart
Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database£39.0012 months
Add to cart


Cavin Gray MBChB, FRCA

Consultant Anaesthetist
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Herries Road
Sheffield S5 7AU


1. BTS Guidelines for the Management of Suspected Acute Pulmonary Embolism (2003). The British Thoracic Society Standards of Care Committee, Pulmonary Embolism Guideline Development Group. Thorax, 58:470–484.
2. Moller JT, Cluitmans P, Rasmussen LS, et al. (1998) Long-term post-operative cognitive dysfunction in the elderly: ISPOCDI study. Lancet, 351:857–861.


Conflict Of Interest

The Journal requires that authors disclose any potential conflict of interest that they may have. This is clearly stated in the Journal’s published “Guidelines for Authors”. The Journal follows the Guidelines against Conflict of Interest published in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (

Financial Statement

The authors of this article have not been paid. The Journal is financed by subscriptions and advertising. The Journal does not receive money from any other sources. The decision to accept or refuse this article for publication was free from financial considerations and was solely the responsibility of the Editorial Panel and Editor-in-Chief.

Patient Consent statement

All pictures and investigations shown in this article are shown with the patients’ consent. We require Authors to maintain patients’ anonymity and to obtain consent to report investigations and pictures involving human subjects when anonymity may be compromised. The Journal follows the Guidelines of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts ( The Journal requires in its Guidelines for Authors a statement from Authors that “the subject gave informed consent”.

Animal & Human Rights

When reporting experiments on human subjects, the Journal requires authors to indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the HelsinkiDeclaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.

About the Clinical Cases Database

T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

The database is fully searchable, or can be browsed by medical specialty. Abstracts can be read free of charge, however a subscription is required in order to read the complete cases.