Anesthesia-Surgery Team Sex Diversity Linked to Improved Postop Outcomes

Hospitals with higher sex diversity (>35 percent female) had reduced odds of 90-day major morbidity
Anesthesia-Surgery Team Sex Diversity Linked to Improved Postop Outcomes
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, May 15, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Anesthesia-surgery team sex diversity is associated with improved postoperative outcomes, according to a study published online May 15 in the British Journal of Surgery.

Julie Hallet, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study of adults undergoing major inpatient procedures between 2009 and 2019 to examine the association between anesthesia-surgery team sex diversity and postoperative outcomes.

The researchers found that 90-day major morbidity occurred in 14.4 percent of 709,899 index operations performed at 88 hospitals. Per hospital, the median proportion of female anesthetists was 28 percent per year. After adjustment, the odds of 90-day major morbidity were reduced in association with care in hospitals with higher sex diversity (>35 percent female; odds ratio, 0.97). For patients treated by female anesthetists and female surgeons, the magnitude of this association was greater (odds ratios, 0.92 and 0.83, respectively).

"These results are the start of an important shift in understanding the way in which diversity contributes to quality in perioperative care," Hallet said in a statement. "Ensuring a critical mass of female anesthesiologists and surgeons in operative teams isn't just about equity; it seems necessary to optimize performance. We wanted to challenge the binary discourse of comparing female and male clinicians and rather highlight the importance of diversity as a team asset or bonus in enhancing quality care."

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