Assessing the Rates and Reasons of Elective Surgical Cancellations on the Day of Surgery: A Multicentre Study from Urban Indian Hospitals

On Behalf of the IndSurg Collaboration

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cancellations of elective surgeries on the day of surgery (DOS) can lead to added financial burden and wastage of resources for healthcare facilities; as well as social and emotional problems to patients. These cancellations act as barriers to delivering efficient surgical services. Optimal utilisation of the available resources is necessary for resource-constrained low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC). This study investigates the rate and causes of cancellations of elective surgeries on the DOS in various surgical departments across ten hospitals in India. Methods: A research consortium ‘IndSurg’ led by World Health Organisation Collaboration Centre (WHOCC) for Research in Surgical Care Delivery in LMICs, India conducted this multicentre retrospective cross-sectional study to analyse the cancellations of elective/planned surgical operations on DOS across urban secondary and tertiary level hospitals. We audited surgical records of a pre-decided period of six weeks for cancellations, documented relevant demographic information and reasons for cancellations. Results: We analysed records from the participating hospitals, with an overall cancellation rate of 9.7% (508/5231) on the DOS for elective surgical operations. Of these, 74% were avoidable cancellations. A majority (30%) of these 508 cancellations were attributed to insufficient resources, 28% due to patient's refusal or failure to show-up, and 22% due to change in patient's medical status. Conclusion: We saw a preponderance of avoidable reasons for elective surgery cancellations. A multidisciplinary approach with adequate preoperative patient counselling, timely communication between the patients and caregivers, adequate preoperative anaesthetic assessment, and planning by the surgical team may help reduce the cancellation rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-390
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 02-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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