Definitions and epidemiologyMiller, Timothy E; Roche, Anthony M; Gan, Tong JCurrent Opinion in Critical Care: August 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 4 - p 314–319 doi: 10.1097/MCC.0b013e32832e47af Postoperative problems: Edited by Jukka Takala Abstract Author Information Purpose of review This is the first part of an eight paper review series on postoperative problems. This section will focus on common postoperative complications with an emphasis on definitions and epidemiology. The major topics covered are cardiovascular and respiratory complications. Other sections will highlight central nervous system and renal complications, postoperative nausea and vomiting, hypothermia, injuries and perioperative mortality. More details on specific problems will be covered later in the series. Recent findings The review will highlight recent aims to standardize definitions of postoperative morbidity. Summary Standardization of definitions is essential to enable high-quality multicenter, multinational research to be carried out. This is vital as we continue to focus on improving patient outcomes. Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA Correspondence to Tong J. Gan, MD, MHS, FRCA, Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA Tel: +1 919 681 4660; fax: +1 919 681 7901; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.