To assess factors contributing to patient injuries in operative rhinology.
Data of the accepted patient injury claims involving operative rhinology, between the years 2001 and 2011, were obtained from the Finnish Patient Insurance Centre registry. Two senior otolaryngologists analysed and evaluated the injury mechanisms.
Analysis and classification of factors contributing to patient injuries.
During the ten-year study period, there were 67 patient injuries in operative rhinology, comprising 36% of all patient injuries in otorhinolaryngologic surgery. The majority (78%) of patients were treated in university or central hospitals and almost all (90%) by fully trained otolaryngology specialists. The factors contributing to the injuries were errors in surgical technique, like lesions to the orbit, skull base and meninges, and adjacent nerves, as well as mistakes with removable packings left in situ. Nearly half of the patients had undergone endoscopic sinus surgery. One patient died because of bleeding from the intracranial artery. Fourteen patients (21%) needed a re-operation due to the injury.
Patient injuries in rhinology were caused by typical complications of common operations performed by otorhinolaryngology specialists. The increased volume of endoscopic sinus surgery was evident also in patient injuries.