ANZELA-QI pilot study findings

06 August 2021

A two-year pilot collaborative project, involving anaesthetists and surgeons, highlights the benefit of national quality care hospital standards for emergency abdominal (surgical) procedures to reduce mortality and length of hospital stay for patients.

Emergency laparotomies are the second most common procedure associated with perioperative mortality after hip fractures. 

The report of the Australian and New Zealand Emergency Laparotomy Audit-Quality Improvement (ANZELA-QI) pilot study found the quality of patient care improved in hospitals where eight key compliance standards were used for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy in their hospitals.

One of the key care standards identified involves recording a preoperative risk assessment, − which drives other key compliance standards such as timely access to theatre − the presence of a specialist anaesthetist and surgeon for patients with predicted mortality risk >5%,  and  direct admission to a critical care unit when predicted mortality risk exceeds 10%.
Data was collected monthly from 24 participating Australian hospitals and 2886 patients (representing 11 per cent of all emergency laparotomies performed in Australian hospitals). The data was then used to provide timely feedback to each participating site, allowing them to assess their performance against evidence-based indicators of care and to drive quality improvement processes across the hospital.

Specialist anaesthetist Dr Ed O’Loughlin, an ANZELA-QI working party member with Mr James Aitken, a Western Australian colorectal surgeon, said the study was significant as it was the first Australian quality improvement project to measure the care and outcomes of Australian patients undergoing an emergency laparotomy against international benchmark standards.
The pilot study was established with seed funding from ANZCA and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and was supported by a collaboration of anaesthetists, surgeons and other doctors across Australia and New Zealand.
A more detailed report on the study findings will be published in the Spring ediiton of the ANZCA Bulletin

Last updated 16:12 6.08.2021