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Pregnancy Not Linked to Higher Mortality in Surgery

Complications, mortality rates roughly the same as for non-pregnant women

WEDNESDAY, May 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnancy does not raise a woman's risk for death or complications after undergoing general surgery, according to research published online May 13 in JAMA Surgery.

For the study, the investigators looked at 2,764 pregnant women in the United States who had general surgery between 2006 and 2011, and compared them with 516,705 women who were not pregnant when they had general surgery.

Pregnant women were more likely than non-pregnant women to have inpatient surgery (75.0 versus 59.7 percent) and more likely to have emergency surgery (50.5 versus 13.2 percent). The researchers found that mortality rates within 30 days after surgery were 0.4 percent for pregnant women and 0.3 percent for those who weren't pregnant. The overall complication rate in the 30 days after surgery was 6.6 percent for pregnant women and 7.4 percent for those who weren't pregnant. There were no significant differences in the rates of the 21 complications examined in the study.

"These findings support previous reports that pregnant patients who present with acute surgical disease should undergo the procedure if delay in definitive care will lead to progression of disease," the authors write.

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