A day in the life of emergency general surgery in Canada: a multicentre observational study. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Emergency general surgery (EGS) services are gaining popularity in Canada as systems-based approaches to surgical emergencies. Despite the high volume, acuity and complexity of the patient populations served by EGS services, little has been reported about the services' structure, processes, case mix or outcomes. This study begins a national surveillance effort to define and advance surgical quality in an important and diverse surgical population. METHODS: A national cross-sectional study of EGS services was conducted during a 24-hour period in January 2017 at 14 hospitals across 7 Canadian provinces recruited through the Canadian Association of General Surgeons Acute Care Committee. Patients admitted to the EGS service, new consultations and off-service patients being followed by the EGS service during the study period were included. Patient demographic information and data on operations, procedures and complications were collected. RESULTS: Twelve sites reported resident coverage. Most services did not include trauma. Ten sites had protected operating room time. Overall, 393 patient encounters occurred during the study period (195/386 [50.5%] operative and 191/386 [49.5%] nonoperative), with a mean of 3.8 operations per service. The patient population was complex, with 136 patients (34.6%) having more than 3 comorbidities. There was a wide case mix, including gallbladder disease (69 cases [17.8%]) and appendiceal disease (31 [8.0%]) as well as complex emergencies, such as obstruction (56 [14.5%]) and perforation (23 [5.9%]). CONCLUSION: The characteristics and case mix of these Canadian EGS services are heterogeneous, but all services are busy and provide comprehensive operative and nonoperative care to acutely ill patients with high levels of comorbidity.


  • DeGirolamo, Kristin
  • D'Souza, Karan
  • Apte, Sameer
  • Ball, Chad G
  • Armstrong, Christopher
  • Reso, Artan
  • Widder, Sandy
  • Mueller, Sarah
  • Gillman, Lawrence M
  • Singh, Ravinder
  • Nenshi, Rahima
  • Khwaja, Kosar
  • Minor, Samuel
  • de Gara, Chris
  • Hameed, S Morad

publication date

  • August 2018