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Acute care surgery: a means for providing cost-effective, quality care for gallstone pancreatitis. World J Emerg Surg 2017;12:20



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85018436792 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   22 Citations


BACKGROUND: Modern practice guidelines recommend index cholecystectomy (IC) for patients admitted with gallstone pancreatitis (GSP). However, this benchmark has been difficult to widely achieve. Previous work has demonstrated that dedicated acute care surgery (ACS) services can facilitate IC. However, the associated financial costs and economic effectiveness of this intervention are unknown and represent potential barriers to ACS adoption. We investigated the impact of an ACS service at two hospitals before and after implementation on cost effectiveness, patient quality-adjusted life years (QALY) and impact on rates of IC.

METHODS: All patients admitted with non-severe GSP to two tertiary care teaching hospitals from January 2008-May 2015 were reviewed. The diagnosis of GSP was confirmed upon review of clinical, biochemical and radiographic criteria. Patients were divided into three time periods based on the presence of ACS (none, at one hospital, at both hospitals). Data were collected regarding demographics, cholecystectomy timing, resource utilization, and associated costs. QALY analyses were performed and incremental cost effectiveness ratios were calculated comparing pre-ACS to post-ACS periods.

RESULTS: In 435 patients admitted for GSP, IC increased from 16 to 76% after implementing an ACS service at both hospitals. There was a significant reduction in admissions and emergency room visits for GSP after introduction of ACS services (p < 0.001). There was no difference in length of stay or conversion to an open operation. The implementation of the ACS service was associated with a decrease in cost of $1162 per patient undergoing cholecystectomy, representing a 12.6% savings. The time period with both hospitals having established ACS services resulted in a highly favorable cost to quality-adjusted life year ratio (QALY gained and financial costs decreased).

CONCLUSIONS: ACS services facilitate cost-effective management of GSP. The result is improved and timelier patient care with decreased healthcare costs. Hospitals without a dedicated ACS service should strongly consider adopting this model of care.

Author List

Murphy PB, Paskar D, Hilsden R, Koichopolos J, Mele TS, Western Ontario Research Collaborative on Acute Care Surgery


Patrick Murphy MD Assistant Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Chi-Square Distribution
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Digestive System Surgical Procedures
Length of Stay
Middle Aged
Quality-Adjusted Life Years
Retrospective Studies
Statistics, Nonparametric