To examine the effect of delay from surgical admission to induction of anesthesia on outcomes after appendectomy for acute appendicitis in adults.
Retrospective cohort study with the principal exposure being time to operation. Regression models yielded probabilities of outcomes adjusted for patient and operative risk factors.
Data were submitted to the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2008.
Patients with acute appendicitis who underwent an appendectomy.
Main Outcome Measures
Thirty-day overall morbidity and serious morbidity/mortality.
Of 32 782 patients, 24 647 (75.2%) underwent operations within 6 hours of surgical admission, 4934 (15.1%) underwent operations more than 6 through 12 hours, and 3201 (9.8%) underwent operations more than 12 hours after surgical admission. Differences in operative duration (51, 50, and 55 minutes, respectively; P < .001) were statistically significant but not clinically meaningful. The length of postoperative stay (2.2 days for the >12-hour group vs 1.8 days for the remaining groups; P < .001) was statistically significant but not clinically meaningful. No significant differences were found in adjusted overall morbidity (5.5%, 5.4%, and 6.1%, respectively; P = .33) or serious morbidity/mortality (3.0%, 3.6%, and 3.0%, respectively; P = .17). Duration from surgical admission to induction of anesthesia was not predictive in regression models for overall morbidity or serious morbidity/mortality.
In this retrospective study, delay of appendectomy for acute appendicitis in adults does not appear to adversely affect 30-day outcomes. This information can guide the use of potentially limited operative and professional resources allocated for emergency care.