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Medical College Pakistan; General Surgery


Introduction: In-patient delay is associated with increased mortality in patients with alimentary tract perforations. Access to surgical care is a glaring health issue in low-middle income countries (LMICs), where patient presentation is also delayed for a myriad of reasons, which can be broadly categorized as social/cultural, financial, and structural in their nature. The impact these delays have on surgical outcomes in low-middle income countries is not known.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent emergency laparotomy for alimentary tract perforation from July 2015 to June 2018 was conducted at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Time was recorded in two variables: symptom onset to emergency room presentation (ERT) and emergency room to operation room time (ORT).
Results: Overall, 80 patients were included in the study. The 12 (15%) patients who expired were significantly older (57 ± 17.7 years of age), had a higher Charlson Comorbidity Index and had longer ORT [median ORT in hours-discharged vs expired: 8.2 (IQR 5-15) vs 16 (IQR 12-28) p=0.02]. ERT was also longer but lacked statistical significance [median ERT in hours-discharged vs expired: 24 (IQR 22-72) vs 48 (IQR 24-120) p=0.19]. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed ORT to be significantly associated with mortality [odds ratio (OR): 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.003-1.041; p=0.02]. Adjusted Cox regression analysis showed that each hour of ORT increased the risk of mortality by 1.5% [hazard ratio (HR) 1.015, 95% CI 1.001-1.030]. Conclusion: Inpatient delays increased the risk of mortality for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy for alimentary tract perforation. Larger sample sizes and prospective studies are needed to better understand this relationship and the impact pre-hospital delays have on outcomes.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.