Indications and immediate patient outcomes of pathology intraoperative consultations: A College of American Pathologists/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Outcomes Working Group Study

Richard J. Zarbo, Waldemar A. Schmidt, Paul Bachner, Peter J. Howanitz, Frederick A. Meier, Ron B. Schifman, D. Joe Boone, Ross M. Herron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective. - To evaluate the reasons (indications) for and immediate intraoperative surgical results (outcomes) associated with pathology intraoperative consultation. Design. - In 1992 and 1993, surgeons collaborated with pathologists in 472 voluntarily participating institutions from the United States (462), Canada (7), Australia (2), and New Zealand (1) in a study jointly sponsored by the College of American Pathologists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pathologists selected 20 consecutive intraoperative consultations and assembled a cover letter, a checklist questionnaire, and a copy of the corresponding surgical pathology report, all of which were sent to the surgeon(s) for retrospective evaluation. Participants. - The study was distributed to participants in the College of American Pathologists voluntary Q-Probes quality improvement and Surgical Pathology Performance Improvement programs and to Canadian and Australian hospitals with more than 200 beds. Results. - Evaluation of 9164 cases established the five most common indications for intraoperative consultation: (1) establish or confirm diagnosis to determine type or extent of operation (51%), (2) confirm adequacy of margins (16%), (3) confirm nature of tissue to direct sampling for immediate culture or other laboratory study (10%), (4) expedite obtaining diagnosis to inform family or patient (8%), and (5) confirm sufficient tissue submitted to secure diagnosis in permanent section (8%). The information provided by the intraoperative consultation resulted in changed surgical procedures that were either modified, terminated, or newly initiated in 47%, 30%, 6%, 9%, and 28% of cases, corresponding respectively to each of the above five common indications. Rarely cited reasons for intraoperative consultation were to expedite obtaining diagnosis for surgeon's knowledge (3%), to facilitate patient management, other professional communication or discharge planning prior to permanent section availability (3%), academic protocol (<1%), and consultation not needed or no reason for request (<1%). Conclusions. - This multi-institutional, interdisciplinary database confirms that pathology intraoperative consultations, regardless of the initial indications, influence immediate patient care decisions, resulting in changed surgical procedures in an average of 39% of all operative cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Volume120
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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