Defining the Burden of Emergency General Surgery in Transplant Patients: A Nationwide Examination

Umar F. Bhatti*, Adil A. Shah, Aaron M. Williams, Maaz K. Zuberi, Zoya Butt, Ben Biesterveld, Hasan B. Alam, Kamran Idrees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Transplant patients are at the risk of serious sequelae from medical and surgical intervention. The incidence and burden of emergency general surgery (EGS) in transplant patients are scarcely known. This study aims to identify predictors of outcomes in transplant patients with EGS needs. Methods: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2007-2011) was queried for adult patients (aged ≥16 y) who underwent abdominal visceral transplantation. These were further queried for a secondary diagnosis of an American Association for the Surgery of Trauma–defined EGS condition. Outcome measures included mortality, complications, length of stay, and cost of care. Propensity scores were used to match patients across baseline characteristics. Multivariate analysis was used to further adjust propensity score quintiles and hospital-level characteristics. Results: A total of 35,573 transplant patients were identified. Of these, 30% (n = 10,676) developed an EGS condition. Most common EGS conditions were resuscitation (7.7%), intestinal obstruction (7.3%), biliary conditions (3.9%), and hernias (3.2%). Patients with public insurance, those in the highest income quartile, and those treated at larger hospitals had a lower likelihood of developing an EGS condition (P < 0.05). Patients with an EGS condition had a ninefold higher likelihood of mortality and a threefold higher likelihood of developing complications (odds ratio [95% confidence interval (CI)]: 9.21 [1.80-10.89] and 3.17 [3.02-3.34], respectively). Transplant patients after EGS had a longer risk-adjusted length of stay and cost of index hospitalization (Absolute difference [95% CI]: 12.70 [12.14-13.26] and $57,797 [55,415-60,179], respectively]). Conclusions: Transplant patients fare poorly after developing an EGS condition. The results of this study will help in identifying at-risk patients and determining outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Burden
  • Emergency surgery
  • Outcomes
  • Risk factors
  • Transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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