A complication is an event or occurrence that is associated with a disease or a healthcare intervention, is a departure from the desired course of events, and may cause, or be associated with, suboptimal outcome. A complication does not necessarily represent a breech in the standard of care that constitutes medical negligence or medical malpractice. An operative or procedural complication is any complication, regardless of cause, occurring (1) within 30 days after surgery or intervention in or out of the hospital, or (2) after 30 days during the same hospitalization subsequent to the operation or intervention. Operative and procedural complications include both intraoperative/intraprocedural complications and postoperative/postprocedural complications in this time interval.
The Multi-Societal Database Committee for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease has set forth a comprehensive list of complications associated with the treatment of patients with congenital cardiac disease, related to cardiac, pulmonary, renal, haematological, infectious, neurological, gastrointestinal, and endocrinal systems, as well as those related to the management of anaesthesia and perfusion, and the transplantation of thoracic organs. The objective of this manuscript is to examine the definitions of operative morbidity as they relate specifically to the gastrointestinal system. These specific definitions and terms will be used to track morbidity associated with surgical and transcatheter interventions and other forms of therapy in a common language across many separate databases.
Although serious gastrointestinal complications are relatively uncommon after congenital cardiac surgery, accurate estimates of the incidences of these complications are limited, in part due to lack of standardized reporting and the absence of universal nomenclature that defines organ-specific complications. The Multi-Societal Database Committee for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease has prepared and defined a list of gastrointestinal complications that may be temporally associated with congenital cardiac surgery. Clinicians caring for patients with congenital cardiac disease will be able to use this list for databases, initiatives to improve quality, reporting of complications, and comparing strategies of treatment.