Development and validation of an instrument for procedure-related death notification

F K Orr, C Keyes, A Alli


Background. Anaesthesia-related mortality is an important, potentially avoidable cause of perioperative mortality. A procedure-related death notification (PRDN) instrument is completed by relevant medical practitioners after a procedure-related death and is used to audit practice and identify areas of care that require improvement. It is also used in medicolegal investigations when establishing cause of death, and in the case of litigation. The current South African (SA) PRDN instrument, designated the GW7/24 form, contains both surgical and anaesthetic sections and is considered to be outdated, inadequate and in need of revision.

Objectives. To develop and validate a revised anaesthetic section of the SA PRDN instrument that can be used for procedure-related deaths in future and be used to update the GW7/24 form for epidemiological, forensic or academic use.

Methods. Lynn’s two-stage model was utilised. After an extensive literature review, a provisional PRDN instrument was developed. This provisional instrument was debated and reviewed at a peer group discussion in which 6 local experts took part. These experts were anaesthetic and forensic pathology specialists who specifically have expert knowledge on procedure-related deaths. A revised PRDN instrument was developed, which was then rated by 8 national experts using a Likert scale. The content validity index (CVI) for each item and for the instrument as a whole was then established. Items with a CVI <0.88 were removed to formulate the final PRDN instrument.

Results. The provisional PRDN instrument consisted of 14 domains and 66 items. The revised PRDN instrument consisted of 13 domains and 65 items, of which 3 items with a CVI <0.88 were removed. The final PRDN instrument, after minor revisions based on suggestions from the 8 national experts, consisted of 18 domains and 79 items. Every item on the form was declared relevant and important by the national experts, with the final instrument scoring an overall CVI of 1.

Conclusions. A comprehensive, updated and validated anaesthetic section of the SA PRDN instrument was developed. This could be used as a government and anaesthesiology society-endorsed template when updating the current GW7/24 form.


Authors' affiliations

F K Orr, Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

C Keyes, Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

A Alli, Department of Anaesthesia, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Anaesthesia; Anesthesia; Forensic pathology; Procedure-related death; GW7/24; Death certificates; Death notification; Anaes-thetic death; Anesthesia-related death

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(2):140-144. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i2.14083

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-01-29
Date published: 2020-01-29

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