Hospital safety among neurologic patients: A population-based cohort study of adverse events

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To examine the frequency and type of adverse events (AEs) experienced by neurologic patients in hospital.


This population-based, retrospective cohort study used hospital discharge abstract data for children and adults admitted to hospital from 2009 to 2015 with 1 of 9 neurologic conditions (Alzheimer disease and related dementia, brain tumor, epilepsy, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, parkinsonism/Parkinson disease, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and stroke). Neurologic conditions were identified with ICD-10-CA codes. Eighteen AEs were examined with ICD-10-CA codes. The proportion of AEs was calculated, and regression analysis was used to examine factors and outcomes associated with AEs (age, sex, comorbidity, length of stay, and mortality).


The overall proportion of admissions associated with an AE among those with a neurologic condition was 11 per 100 admissions. Those with a spinal cord injury had the highest proportion of AEs (39.4 per 100 admissions). The most common AEs were infections and respiratory complications (32.0% and 16.7%, respectively). Age and the presence of comorbidities were associated with higher odds of an AE, while readmission was associated with lower odds of an AE. Having an AE was associated with increased length of stay and higher odds of mortality.


This study demonstrates that neurologic patients have a high proportion of AEs in hospital. The findings provide information on the quality and safety of care for people with neurologic conditions in hospital, which can help inform future quality improvement initiatives.

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