Same-day cardiac surgery cancellations at a large UK centre and patient satisfaction survey


  • Sara Jasionowska Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom
  • Rory F. L. Hammond Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom
  • Wael I. Awad Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom



Cardiac surgery, Patient satisfaction, Service improvement, Surgery cancelation


Background: Same-day cancellation of cardiac surgeries is a disheartening experience for patients. The primary aims of this study were to determine the frequency and reasons for same-day cancellations, and associated patients’ outcomes. The secondary aims were to evaluate patients' reactions to cancellations and to propose measures to reduce cancellations.

Methods: We prospectively reviewed all elective and urgent in-patient adult cardiac surgeries performed from August 2017 to March 2018. Procedures were divided into cancelled (C) and not cancelled (NC) groups. A qualitative patient satisfaction survey was undertaken.

Results: Overall, 1388 patients were scheduled for cardiac surgery during this period. Elective surgeries constituted 70.7% (981/1388) and urgent 29.3% (407/1388). 231/1388 (16.7%) procedures were cancelled for the following reasons: 30.5% lack of ITU beds, 20.1% patient medically unfit, 8.2% ITU staff shortage, 6.9% emergency case intervention and 34.2% other. There was no significant difference in mortality between groups (2.6% in C versus 1.6% in NC, p=0.62). In group C, 36% (84/231) of patients underwent surgery within 72 hours of cancellation, 47% (110/231) of procedures were rescheduled, and 6.9% (16/231) were not performed. 30.7% (71/231) were potentially preventable. All cancelled patients were asked to complete the survey; 43.7% (101/231) responded, with 22.8% (23/101) describing feeling upset. However, 92.1% (93/101) felt the cancellation was justified.

Conclusions: This single institutional study suggests a relatively high number of planned same-day surgeries are being cancelled. A third of these may be preventable. Despite this, patients were understanding. Actions to decrease cancellations should be identified to improve efficiency.

Author Biography

Sara Jasionowska, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom

Research Assistant, St Bartholomew's Hospital


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Original Research Articles