World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 2356–2363 | Cite as

Effect of Time to Operation on Value of Care in Acute Care Surgery

  • Tyler J. Loftus
  • Martin D. Rosenthal
  • Chasen A. Croft
  • R. Stephen Smith
  • Philip A. Efron
  • Frederick A. Moore
  • Alicia M. Mohr
  • Scott C. Brakenridge
Original Scientific Report



As reimbursement models evolve, there is increasing emphasis on maximizing value-based care for inpatient conditions. We hypothesized that longer intervals between admission and surgery would be associated with worse outcomes and increased costs for acute care surgery patients, and that these associations would be strongest among patients with high-risk conditions.


We performed a 5-year retrospective analysis of three risk cohorts: appendectomy (low-risk for morbidity and mortality, n = 618), urgent hernia repair (intermediate-risk, n = 80), and laparotomy for intra-abdominal sepsis with temporary abdominal closure (sTAC; high-risk, n = 102). Associations between the interval from admission to surgery and outcomes including infectious complications, mortality, length of stay, and hospital charges were assessed by regression modeling.


Median intervals between admission and surgery for appendectomy, hernia repair, and sTAC were 9.3, 13.5, and 8.1 h, respectively, and did not significantly impact infectious complications or mortality. For appendectomy, each 1 h increase from admission to surgery was associated with increased hospital LOS by 1.1 h (p = 0.002) and increased intensive care unit (ICU) LOS by 0.3 h (p = 0.011). For hernia repair, each 1 h increase from admission to surgery was associated with increased antibiotic duration by 1.6 h (p = 0.007), increased hospital LOS by 3.3 h (p = 0.002), increased ICU LOS by 1.5 h (p = 0.001), and increased hospital charges by $1918 (p < 0.001). For sTAC, each 1 h increase from admission to surgery was associated with increased antibiotic duration by 5.0 h (p = 0.006), increased hospital LOS by 3.9 h (p = 0.046), increased ICU LOS by 3.5 h (p = 0.040), and increased hospital charges by $3919 (p = 0.002).


Longer intervals from admission to surgery were associated with prolonged antibiotic administration, longer hospital and ICU length of stay, and increased hospital charges, with strongest effects among high-risk patients. To improve value of care for acute care surgery patients, operations should proceed as soon as resuscitation is complete.



The authors thank Paul Nickerson for assistance with data management. The authors were supported in part by P50 GM111152–01 (PAE, FAM, AMM, SCB) awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). TJL was supported by a postgraduate training Grant (T32 GM008721) in burns, trauma, and perioperative injury by NIGMS.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tyler J. Loftus
    • 1
  • Martin D. Rosenthal
    • 1
  • Chasen A. Croft
    • 1
  • R. Stephen Smith
    • 1
  • Philip A. Efron
    • 1
  • Frederick A. Moore
    • 1
  • Alicia M. Mohr
    • 1
  • Scott C. Brakenridge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery and Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center in GainesvilleUniversity of Florida HealthGainesvilleUSA

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