Nontraumatic Emergency Laparotomy: Surgical Principles Similar to Trauma Need to Be Adopted?

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In 2011, the Royal College of Surgeons published Emergency Surgery: Standards for Unscheduled Care in response to variable clinical outcomes for emergency surgery. The purpose of this study was to examine whether different treatment modalities would alter survival.


All patients who underwent emergency laparotomy between April 2011 and December 2012 at Warwick Hospital (Warwick, UK) were included retrospectively. Information relating to their demographics; preoperative score; primary pathology; timing of surgery; intraoperative details; and postoperative outcome, including 30-day mortality, were collated for statistical analysis.


In total, 91 patients underwent 97 operations. The median age was 64 years (range 50–90, male:female 1:2). Sixty-five percent of cases were obstruction and perforation, and 66% of all operations were performed during office hours. The unadjusted 30-day mortality was 15.4%. Compared with nonsurvivors, survivors had a significantly higher Portsmouth-Physiological and Operative Severity Score for the enUmeration of Mortality and Morbidity score (P < 0.001), prolonged duration of hypotension and use of inotropes (P = 0.013), higher volume of colloid use (P = 0.04), and lower core body temperature (P < 0.05). Grades of surgeons did not influence mortality.


The 30-day mortality rate is comparable to the national standard. Further studies are warranted to determine whether trauma management modalities may be adopted to target high-risk patients who exhibit the lethal triad of hypotension, coagulopathy, and hypothermia.

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