Respiratory failure after surgery

Respiratory failure occurs when lungs are unable to perform the task of transporting oxygen into the body and carbon dioxide out of the body. When this happens after a surgery, it may be considered postoperative respiratory failure.  Respiratory failure may be brief and patients may recover quickly, or may require treatment for a significant period of time.

Respiratory failure is a potential risk following surgery. It is our goal to improve our patient outcomes and minimize the number of patients who experience respiratory failure. As part of our post-surgical protocols, we monitor all patients very closely after surgery so we can intervene if they begin showing signs of respiratory distress.

About this measure

This measure tracks the number of elective surgery patients who experience respiratory failure in the hospital after a surgery out of every 1000 patients who had an elective surgery. It excludes patients with pre-existing major respiratory and circulatory disorders.

In this case, a lower number is better.  

Most Recent Available Data (Rate per 1000)
  2013 Q3
Northwestern Memorial 10
National Average 8.6
Performance Trend (Rate per 1000)
  2011 Q4 2012 Q1 2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2013 Q1 2013 Q2 2013 Q3
Northwestern Memorial 7.7 8.3 11 6.7 7.9 5.3 4.6 10
National Average 8.23 8.23 8.28 8.28 8.28 8.28 8.28 8.6
Source:Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,
Post-operative respiratory failure