Operative timing is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing emergency general surgery: a multisite study of emergency general services in a single academic network
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Background: Despite the widespread implementation of the acute care surgery (ACS) model, limited access to operating room time represents a barrier to the optimal delivery of emergency general surgery (EGS) care. The objective of this study was to describe the effect of operative timing on outcomes in EGS in a network of teaching hospitals. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of EGS operations performed at 3 teaching hospitals in a single academic network. Time of operation was categorized as daytime (8 am to 5 pm), after hours (5 pm to 11 pm) or overnight (11 pm to 8 am). Time to operation was calculated as the interval from admission to operative start time and categorized as less than 24 hours, 24-72 hours and greater than 72 hours. Results: After we excluded nonindex cases, trauma cases and cases occurring more than 5 days after admission, 1505 EGS cases were included. We found that 39.0% of operations were performed in the daytime, 46.3% after hours and 14.8% overnight. In terms of time to operation, 52.3% of operations were performed within 24 hours of admission, 33.4% in 24-72 hours and 14.3% in more than 72 hours. The overall complication rate was 20.6% (310 patients) and the overall mortality rate was 3.8% (57 patients). After multivariable analysis, time to operation more than 72 hours after admission was independently associated with increased odds of morbidity (odds ratio [OR] 1.64, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09-2.47), while overnight operating was associated with increased odds of death (OR 3.15, 95% CI 1.29-7.70). Conclusion: Increasing time from admission to operation and overnight operating were associated with greater morbidity and mortality, respectively, for EGS patients. Strategies to provide timely access to the operating room should be considered to optimize care in an ACS model.
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