The nature, patterns, clinical outcomes, and financial impact of intraoperative adverse events in emergency surgery

Elie P. Ramly, Jordan D. Bohnen, Maha R. Farhat, Shadi Razmdjou, Michael N. Mavros, Daniel D. Yeh, Jarone Lee, Kathryn Butler, Marc De Moya, George C. Velmahos, Haytham M.A. Kaafarani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background Little is known about intraoperative adverse events (iAEs) in emergency surgery (ES). We sought to describe iAEs in ES and to investigate their clinical and financial impact. Methods The 2007 to 2012 administrative and American College of Surgeons-National Surgical Quality Improvement Program databases at our tertiary academic center were: (1) linked, (2) queried for all ES procedures, and then (3) screened for iAEs using the ICD-9-CM–based Patient Safety Indicator “accidental puncture/laceration”. Flagged cases were systematically reviewed to: (1) confirm or exclude the occurrence of iAEs (defined as inadvertent injuries during the operation) and (2) extract additional variables such as procedure type, approach, complexity (measured by relative value units), need for adhesiolysis, and extent of repair. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess the independent impact of iAEs on 30-day morbidity, mortality, and hospital charges. Results Of a total of 9,288 patients, 1,284 (13.8%) patients underwent ES, of which 23 had iAEs (1.8%); 18 of 23 (78.3%) of the iAEs involved the small bowel or spleen, 10 of 23 (43.5%) required suture repair, and 8 of 23 (34.8%) required tissue or organ resection. Compared with those without iAEs, patients with iAEs were older (median age 62 vs 50; P = .04); their procedures were more complex (total relative value unit 46.7, interquartile range [27.5 to 52.6] vs 14.5 [.5 to 30.2]; P < .001), longer in duration (>3 hours: 52% vs 8%; P < .001), and more often required adhesiolysis (39.1% vs 13.5% P = .001). Patients with iAEs had increased total charges ($31,080 vs $11,330, P < .001), direct charges ($20,030 vs $7,387, P < .001), and indirect charges ($11,460 vs $4,088, P < .001). On multivariable analyses, iAEs were independently associated with increased 30-day morbidity (odds ratio, 3.56 [CI, 1.10 to 11.54]; P = .03) and prolonged postoperative length of stay (LOS; LOS >7 days; odds ratio, 5.60 [1.54 to 20.35]; P = .01]. A trend toward increased mortality did not reach statistical significance. Conclusions In ES, iAEs are independently associated with significantly higher postoperative morbidity and prolonged LOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency surgery
  • Intraoperative adverse events
  • Patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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