Author(s): Sheeja Rajan T. M1, Krishnakumar K. S2

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The optimum period of hospitalization following primary palatoplasty is a balance between patient safety on discharge, the possibility of iatrogenic or cross infections as well as the total treatment costs. There is a worldwide consensus that the optimum period of hospitalization after palatoplasty is 5 days. In many cases, occurrence of early postoperative complications may increase the period of postoperative hospital stay, which in turn might make these patients more susceptible to hospital acquired infections. AIMS: In this study we have aimed at elucidating the factors affecting morbidity of primary palatoplasty patients in the early postoperative period which has resulted in the prolongation of hospital stay. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: A Case series study of 70 consecutive patients admitted for primary cleft palate surgeries was conducted. METHODS AND MATERIAL: Assessment of the incidence of early postoperative complications and their influence on prolongation of hospital stay was done in the 70 consecutive patients by retrospective analysis of medical records. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: Data was entered into SPSS statistical package and analyzed using appropriate statistical methods. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: 26 patients were found to suffer from early postoperative complications of a general nature unrelated to surgery. Most common causes for prolongation of hospital stay after palatoplasty were identified to be upper respiratory infection in 40%, lower respiratory infections (25%) and acute diarrheal disease (18%). Due to the predominantly nosocomial nature of the complications, recommendations for postoperative isolation, earlier discharge and revision of antibiotic policy were suggested.