A new study shows seven emergency surgeries patients should try to avoid. These seven types of procedures account for 80 percent of all hospital admissions, deaths, complications, and costs from general emergency surgeries.

The new study was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

How many patients get these surgeries every year?

Statistics show that around 3 million get these surgeries every year.

Dr. Joaquim M. Havens, director of Emergency Surgical Services at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, was the lead researcher on the study. He realized that patients who were coming in with serious medical problems needing unplanned emergency surgery were not doing as well as he they should.

“When you look at surgeries done emergently and surgeries done electively, the outcomes are so different. It really challenged me to look deeper into what was going on,” according to Dr. Havens.

How was the study conducted?

Dr. Havens and a team of researchers scrutinized a government database of more than 420,000 patients who had emergency general surgery between 2008 and 2011. The study did not include heart-related surgeries or surgery from traumatic events like car crashes.

The team ranked surgeries by total burden, factoring into account frequency, complications, mortality rates, and financial expenses. “In the end, they found seven operations that collectively accounted for 80 percent of procedures, 80 percent of deaths, 79 percent of complications, and 80 percent of inpatient costs nationwide,” according to CBS.

So what were the most dangerous emergency surgeries?

The first on the list, the one with the highest burden, is a partial colectomy. This consists of removing part of the colon. Dr. Havens said that this has a high mortality and complication rate.

Small bowel resection is the second most difficult and dangerous emergency surgery.

Gall bladder removal is third on the list. Havens said this surgery has a low complication rate when done in a normal setting but when it is done as an emergency surgery it can be dangerous. He said this is because when the surgery is done in an emergency that means it has a major blockage, which can make a person very sick.

Fourth on the list is operation for peptic ulcer disease. This refers to peptic ulcers lining the stomach that bleed and need to be controlled.

Fifth is removal of abdominal adhesions. Sometimes patients who have gotten intestinal surgeries can develop painful adhesions that need to be removed through an operation.

The sixth is the removal of the appendix and a laparotomy is the seventh, which is a procedure done to open the abdomen.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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