Background: Emergency surgery patients risk greater mortality and morbidity than elective patients undergoing the same procedure. However, the differential effort required for the care of emergency surgical patients is poorly defined. This study sought to characterize costs and outcomes of elective versus emergent right hemicolectomy. Methods: 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample data were used to compare mortality, total charges, and length of stay (LOS) in patients undergoing emergency versus elective right hemicolectomy (International Classification of Diseases-9th procedure code 45.73). Mann-Whitney tests examined total costs and LOS; multivariable regression modeled inhospital mortality controlling for age, gender, insurance status, and comorbidities. Results: Among 8,074,825 inpatient admissions, 7,767 emergent and 10,399 elective right hemicolectomies were identified. Emergent patients were similar in age (66.9 years vs. 67.6 years; p = 0.129), more likely women (43.7% vs. 42.3%; p = 0.048) and had greater comorbidity (Charlson score 3.37 vs. 3.01; p < 0.001) compared with elective patients. Emergent patient LOS was approximately double that of elective patients (13 days vs. 7 days; p < 0.001). Mean total charges were $78,118 for emergent versus $39,265 elective patients (p < 0.001). Emergent patients had greater odds of inhospital mortality (odds ratio, 5.86; 95% confidence intervals, 4.80-7.14). Conclusions: Emergent right hemicolectomy patients have greater comorbidity, experience longer stays, accrue twice the charges, and have higher mortality risk. This reflects a heightened effort required to care for emergent patients unrecognized by Global Surgical Package reimbursement. The concentration of emergency surgical patients in acute care surgery services necessitates accounting for the additional effort associated with these predictable risks to ensure optimal care.
- Acute care surgery
- Global Surgical Package