Most medical treatment carries some risk of complications. Many complications are minor and can be quickly controlled, but others are more serious. Examples of minor complications include events like minor bleeding at the site of an intravenous (IV) line or surgical incision, nausea or other minor reactions to medicines. An example of a serious complication is an unexpected heart attack during care.

Many complications can be prevented or treated successfully if they are identified early. However, some complications cannot be prevented. Complication rates may not be related to the quality of care.

When we report patients who experienced a complication, we include all patients who experienced that complication, even if it was minor or was treated promptly and successfully. While not all complications are preventable, we can look at how we compare to other hospitals. This can help us identify areas where we may be able to improve, such as better preventing complications or treating them early if they do occur. See individual measures for more information.