The number of patients and procedures considered suitable for day-case anaesthesia and surgery continues to grow and it is hoped that 50-60% of all operations in the UK will eventually be performed on a day-patient basis. However, minor but troublesome post-operative side effects remain common. We have examined the incidence of the most common causes of minor morbidity, namely headache, nausea/vomiting and pain occurring after a wide variety of day-case surgical and diagnostic procedures. Patient satisfaction with treatment and the impact of day case surgery on the workload of the general practitioner was also assessed. The anaesthetic records of the patients involved were reviewed in an attempt to determine if there was any association between the anaesthetic technique and an adverse outcome. A simple postal questionnaire completed on the morning after surgery was returned by 553 patients (response rate over 87%). More than 50% of respondents complained of some morbidity with 40% complaining of pain, 19% of headache and 9% of nausea and vomiting. One third self-medicated to modify their symptoms, and in most cases (81%) this was effective. However, 6% of patients called their GP for advice and 2% received a home visit. No patient required readmission. A total of 92 patients (17%) would have preferred treatment as an in-patient. Analysis of the anaesthetic drugs and techniques suggested that the commonly used anti-emetics droperidol and metoclopramide had little effect on the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Intubation was associated with a significantly higher incidence of minor morbidity although this may be related to surgical factors.
- Day-case surgery
- Minor morbidity