Background The emergency surgery score is a mortality-risk calculator for emergency general operation patients. We sought to examine whether the emergency surgery score predicts 30-day morbidity and mortality in a high-risk group of patients undergoing emergent laparotomy. Methods Using the 2011–2012 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database, we identified all patients who underwent emergent laparotomy using (1) the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program definition of “emergent,” and (2) all Current Procedural Terminology codes denoting a laparotomy, excluding aortic aneurysm rupture. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to measure the correlation (c-statistic) between the emergency surgery score and (1) 30-day mortality, and (2) 30-day morbidity after emergent laparotomy. As sensitivity analyses, the correlation between the emergency surgery score and 30-day mortality was also evaluated in prespecified subgroups based on Current Procedural Terminology codes. Results A total of 26,410 emergent laparotomy patients were included. Thirty-day mortality and morbidity were 10.2% and 43.8%, respectively. The emergency surgery score correlated well with mortality (c-statistic = 0.84); scores of 1, 11, and 22 correlated with mortalities of 0.4%, 39%, and 100%, respectively. Similarly, the emergency surgery score correlated well with morbidity (c-statistic = 0.74); scores of 0, 7, and 11 correlated with complication rates of 13%, 58%, and 79%, respectively. The morbidity rates plateaued for scores higher than 11. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that the emergency surgery score effectively predicts mortality in patients undergoing emergent (1) splenic, (2) gastroduodenal, (3) intestinal, (4) hepatobiliary, or (5) incarcerated ventral hernia operation. Conclusion The emergency surgery score accurately predicts outcomes in all types of emergent laparotomy patients and may prove valuable as a bedside decision-making tool for patient and family counseling, as well as for adequate risk-adjustment in emergent laparotomy quality benchmarking efforts.
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