Daytime Versus Night-Time Emergency Abdominal Operations: Perspective from a Low–Middle-Income Country
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Emergency abdominal operations carry significant risk of mortality and morbidity. The time of the day when such operations are performed has been suggested as a predictor of outcome. A retrospective comparison of outcomes of daytime and night-time emergency abdominal operations was conducted.
Clinical data of patients who had abdominal operations over a five-year period were obtained. Operations were classified as ‘daytime’ (group A) if performed between 8.00 am and 7.59 pm or ‘night time’ if performed between 8.00 pm and 7.59 am (group B). Post-operative outcomes were compared.
A total of 267 emergency abdominal operations were analysed: 161 (60.3%) were performed in the daytime while 106 (39.7%) were performed at night. The case mix in both groups was similar with appendectomies, bowel resections and closure of bowel perforations accounting for the majority. Baseline characteristics and intra-operative parameters were similar except that ‘daytime’ operations had more consultant participation (p = 0.01). Mortality rates (13.7% in group A and 12.3% in group B, p = 0.2), re-operation rates (9.3% in group A and 10.4% in group B, p = 0.7) and duration of hospital stay (group A—11.1 days, group B—12.4 days p = 0.4) were similar. ASA status, re-operation and admission into the intensive care unit were identified as predictors of mortality.
Timing of emergency abdominal operations did not influence outcomes. In resource-limited settings where access to the operating room is competitive, delaying operations till daytime may be counterproductive. Patients’ clinical condition still remains the most important parameter guiding time of operation.
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