Impact of deprivation and comorbidity on outcomes in emergency general surgery: an epidemiological study

Jared M Wohlgemut, George Ramsay, Russell L Griffin, Jan O Jansen

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Background: The impact of socioeconomic deprivation and comorbidities on the outcome of patients who require emergency general surgery (EGS) admission is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of deprivation and comorbidity on mortality, discharge destination and length of hospital stay (LOS) in patients undergoing EGS in Scotland.

Methods: Prospectively collected data from all Scottish adult patients (aged >15 years) requiring EGS admitted between 1997 and 2016 were obtained from the Scottish Government. Data included age, sex, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), 5-year Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), whether an operation took place and outcomes including mortality, discharge destination and LOS. Logistic regression was used for the analysis of mortality and discharge destination and Poisson regression was used for LOS.

Results: 1 477 810 EGS admissions were analyzed. 16.2% were in the most deprived SIMD decile and 5.6% in the least deprived SIMD decile. 75.6% had no comorbidity, 20.3% had mild comorbidity, 2.5% had moderate comorbidity and 1.6% had severe comorbidity. 78.6% were discharged directly home. Inpatient, 30-day, 90-day and 1-year crude mortality was 1.7%, 3.7%, 7.2% and 12.4%, respectively. Logistic regression showed that severe comorbidity was associated with not being discharged directly to home (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.39) and higher inpatient mortality (OR 13.74, 95% CI 13.09 to 14.42). Compared with the most affluent population, the most deprived population were less likely to be discharged directly to home (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.95 to 0.99) and had higher inpatient mortality (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.8 to 1.46). Poisson analysis showed that severe comorbidity (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.68 to 1.69) and socioeconomic deprivation (OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.12) were associated with longer LOS.

Discussion: Increased levels of comorbidity and, to a lesser extent, socioeconomic deprivation are key drivers of mortality, discharge destination and LOS following admission to an EGS service.

Level of evidence: III (prospective/retrospective with up to two negative criteria).

Study type: Epidemiological/prognostic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000500
Number of pages8
JournalTrauma surgery & acute care open
Issue number1
Early online date24 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • epidemiology
  • general surgery
  • outcome assessment, health care
  • socioeconomic factors


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