An audit of consent for allograft use in elective orthopaedic surgery


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Abstract

INTRODUCTIONPatients receiving musculoskeletal allografts may be at risk of postoperative infection. The General Medical Council guidelines on consent highlight the importance of providing patients with the information they want or need on any proposed investigation or treatment, including any potential adverse outcomes. With the increased cost of defending medicolegal claims, it is paramount that adequate, clear informed patient consent be documented.METHODSWe retrospectively examined the patterns of informed consent for allograft bone use during elective orthopaedic procedures in a large unit with an onsite bone bank. The initial audit included patients operated over the course of 1 year. Following a feedback session, a re-audit was performed to identify improvements in practice.RESULTSThe case mix of both studies was very similar. Revision hip arthroplasty surgery constituted the major subgroup requiring allograft (48%), followed by foot and ankle surgery (16.3%) and revision knee arthroplasty surgery (11.4%). On the initial audit, 17/45 cases (38%) had either adequate preoperative documentation of the outpatient discussion or an appropriately completed consent form on the planned use of allograft. On the re-audit, 44/78 cases (56%) had adequate pre-operative documentation. There was little correlation between how frequently a surgeon used allograft and the adequacy of consent (Correlation coefficient -0.12).CONCLUSIONSAlthough the risk of disease transmission with allograft may be variable, informed consent for allograft should be a routine part of preoperative discussions in elective orthopaedic surgery. Regular audit and feedback sessions may further improve consent documentation, alongside the targeting of high volume/low compliance surgeons.

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