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Rates of some postoperative complications were higher at teaching hospitals than at nonteaching hospitals, according to an analysis of almost 4,000 acute care hospitals. Researchers also found that nurses in nonteaching hospitals care for fewer patients than those in teaching hospitals, which they say helps explain the lower complication rate for nonteaching hospitals. They also hypothesized that a lack of continuity of care and the long working hours characteristic of teaching hospitals contribute to the higher complication rates.


Researchers analyzed data collected from 1990 to 1996 at 3,818 acute care hospitals and compared the incidence of postoperative deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), pulmonary compromise, urinary tract infection (UTI), and pneumonia. The incidence of postoperative DVT, PE, and pulmonary compromise was higher in teaching hospitals. Nonteaching hospitals had a higher incidence of postoperative UTIs.


Researchers presented their findings at the annual scientific assembly of the American Academy of Family Physicians in New Orleans, La., last fall.