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Revista chilena de cirugía

versión On-line ISSN 0718-4026


PATTILLO S., Juan Carlos  y  DEXTER, Franklin. Facing the dilemma of cancellations: incidence and characteristics of surgical cancellations in a Chilean academic hospital. Rev Chil Cir [online]. 2018, vol.70, n.4, pp.322-328. ISSN 0718-4026.


Surgical cancellations are a complex problem in the field of Operating Room Management, affecting patients, staff, including surgeons and anesthetists, and compromising the finances of health institutions. The available information about the incidence and characteristics of surgical cancellations in our country are scarce.


The aim of this article is to characterize the surgical cancellations in a Chilean academic center, describing its global incidence and by specialty.

Materials and Methods:

Prospective information on surgical schedule and Operating Room activity was included in this cohort study of surgical case cancellations occurring from January 1, 2016 through May 20, 2017. To calculate the percentage of cancellations, 3 groups were used based on 6 periods of 4 weeks. The Freeman-Turkey double-arcsine transformation and Student's t-test were applied.


During the study period, 11,398 surgeries were programmed, of which 492 were cancelled. The incidence of cancellations for the 3 periods was 4.38% (95% CI 3.78% to 5.01%), 4.15% (95% CI 3.51% to 4.85%) and 4.10% (95% CI of 3.50% to 4.74%) respectively. In at least 57% of cases the main identifiable cause of cancellation was a change in the patient's medical condition.

Discussion and Conclusions:

Our results consistently show that the cancellation rates range between 3% and 5%, which is within international standards, and can be used as benchmarking for comparisons at a national level.

Palabras clave : elective surgery; surgery cancellation; operating room management.

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