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Patient Perceptions on AEs after PFD Surgery

Am J Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2018 Oct 26; Dunivan, et al

Following surgery for pelvic floor disorders (PFD), women considered functional outcomes such as incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and recurrence of symptoms as severe adverse events (AEs), and rated them as similar in severity to intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and death. This according to a recent qualitative study that reported patient perceptions on AEs following surgery for PFDs. Women representing 3 separate surgical populations were studied and participated in focus groups: 1) preoperative (women ≤12 weeks prior to surgery); 2) short-term postoperative (women up to 12 weeks post-surgery); and 3) long-term postoperative (women 1-5 years post-surgery). Women were asked to rank patient-identified and surgeon-identified AEs in order of perceived severity. Among the findings:

  • 81 women participated in 12 focus groups.
  • Women commonly reported an unclear understanding of their surgery and categorized AEs such as incontinence, constipation, nocturia, and lack of improvement in sexual function as “very severe,” ranking them comparable to ICU admission and death.
  • Women also expressed a sense of personal failure and shame if symptoms recurred.


Dunivan GC, Sussman AL, Jelovsek JE, et al. Gaining the patient perspective on pelvic floor disorders’ surgical adverse events. [Published online ahead of print October 26, 2018]. Am J Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2018.10.033.