5 years ago

A Description of Deaths Following Emergency Abdominal Surgery

Ann Merete Møller, Henrik Wolsted, Morten Vester-Andersen, Mai-Britt Tolstrup



Emergency major abdominal surgery carries a high mortality rate. The aim of this present study was to characterize a population of deceased abdominal surgical patients, to examine how many died unexpectedly and how many were subject to treatment limitations.

Materials and methods

We included adult emergency abdominal surgical patients who died within 30 days postoperatively. We collected data from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014, in a Danish tertiary care hospital (Herlev).


A total of 138 patients were included which corresponded to a crude mortality rate of 16.5% in the population. Four percent (5 of 138) of the patients died unexpectedly without any prior signs of deterioration and 46% (65 of 138) experienced a complicated treatment course, 67% of which was treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). The remaining 50% (68 of 138) had treatment limitations, applied pre- or postoperatively, of which 4% were treated in the ICU ward.


In the present study, we found a high number of patients with treatment limitations, offering one explanation to why so relatively few high-risk surgical patients are admitted to the ICU ward. Whether intermediary wards could serve as a viable alternative for these patients, securing a sufficient level of treatment without taking up scarce beds in the intensive care unit, remains an important question for future studies. Furthermore, five patients died unexpectedly, without any clear cause of death, proving that continual strides toward improving the overall process of postoperative care are still demanded.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00268-017-4109-1

DOI: 10.1007/s00268-017-4109-1

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.