Trends in emergency department utilization following common operations in New York State, 2005–2014

  • Craig S. BrownEmail author
  • Jie Yang
  • Ziqi Meng
  • James Henderson
  • Justin B. Dimick
  • Dana A. Telem



ED overutilization is a leading cause of increased healthcare costs and a key target for healthcare reform. ED utilization patterns following common operative procedures are unknown.


Using the SPARCS New York (NY) statewide longitudinal administrative database, a longitudinal analysis on 746,633 patients who underwent cholecystectomy (n = 355,368), appendectomy (n = 142,797) or inguinal hernia repair (n = 248,468) from 2005 to 2014 was performed. ED revisits were identified via unique patient identifiers which allow for patient tracking across hospitals in NY State.


In total, 59,255 (7.9%) patients presented to the ED within 30-days of their operation of which 21,638 (36.5%) were admitted. The aggregated rate of ED utilization and admission from the ED were as follows: cholecystectomy (9.5%, 40%), appendectomy (9.1%, 33.1%), and inguinal hernia repair (5.1%, 26.2%), respectively. A longitudinal analysis demonstrated a relative slowing of the rate of increase in hospital readmissions for cholecystectomy and inguinal hernia repair but no change in the number of ED revisits for inguinal hernia repair.


Nearly 1 in 10 patients undergoing cholecystectomy and appendectomy, and 1 in 20 patients undergoing inguinal hernia repair will present to the ED following surgery. The majority of ED visits do not result in admission, calling their necessity into question. These data suggest possible overutilization of the ED following common operations and support the consideration of ED utilization as a quality indicator.


Healthcare costs Emergency Department Utilization Complication Admission 


Compliance with ethical standards


Craig S. Brown, Jie Yang, Ziqi Meng, James Henderson, Justin B. Dimick, and Dana A. Telem have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryStony Brook University Medical CenterStony BrookUSA

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