High Resource Utilization in Emergent Versus Elective General Surgery

Giannina Rokvic, Daniel L. Davenport, Charles F. Campbell, Evan M. Taylor, Andrew C. Bernard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: In an era of pay for performance metrics, we sought to increase understanding of factors driving high resource utilization (HRU) in emergent (EGS) versus same-day elective (SDGS) general surgery patients. Methods: General surgery procedures from the 2016 ACS-NSQIP public use file were grouped according to the first four digits of the primary procedure CPT code. Groups having at least 100 of both elective and emergent cases were included (22 groups; 83,872 cases). HRU patients were defined as those in-hospital >7D, returned to the OR, readmitted, and/or had morbidity likely requiring an intensive care unit (ICU)stay. Independent NSQIP predictors of HRU were identified through forward regression; P for entry < 0.05, for exit > 0.10. Results: Of all patients, 33% were HRU. The three highest HRU procedures (total colectomy, enterolysis, and ileostomy) comprised a higher proportion of EGS than SDGS cases (10.3 versus 2.6%, P < 0.001). The duration of operation was 40 Min lower in EGS after adjustment. Thirty-nine of the remaining 40 HRU predictors were higher in EGS including preoperative SIRS/Sepsis (50 versus 2%), ASA classification IV-V (31 versus 5%), albumin <3.5 g/dL (40 versus 12%), transfers (26 versus 2%, P's < 0.001), septuagenarians (35 versus 25%) and disseminated cancer (6.3 versus 4.8%, P's < 0.001); while sex did not differ. After adjustment, EGS patients remained more likely to be HRU (odds ratio 2.5, 95% CI 2.4 - 2.6, P < 0.001). Conclusions: EGS patients utilize significantly more resources than SDGS patients above what can be adjusted for in the clinically robust ACS-NSQIP dataset. Distinctive payment and value-based performance models are necessary for EGS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-736
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Elective surgery
  • Emergent surgery
  • Resource utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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