Pregnant women face no greater morbidity or mortality risk from general surgery than nonpregnant women, according to a retrospective study in JAMA Surgery.
Using a national surgical database, U.S. researchers matched some 2500 pregnant women who underwent nonobstetric operations with 2500 nonpregnant women undergoing similar procedures. Over 60 preoperative characteristics were used for matching.
The primary outcomes — mortality and complications within 30 days of surgery — did not differ significantly between pregnant and nonpregnant women. For example, 6.6% of pregnant women had at least one complication (e.g., surgical site infection, bleeding requiring transfusion) compared with 7.4% of nonpregnant women.
The authors say their data “support previous reports that pregnant patients who present with acute surgical diseases should undergo the procedure if delay in definitive care will lead to progression of disease.” They caution, however, that they “did not account for fetal complications … and would not advocate that [the] findings be generalized to elective surgical situations.”