Risk Factors and Reasons for Emergency Department Visits Within 30 Days of Elective Hand Surgery: An Analysis of 3,261 Patients

Timothy C. Benage, Michael A. Del Core, Alexander J. Bass, Junho Ahn, William F. Pientka, Ann S. Golden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The frequency of hand and elbow surgeries occurring in outpatient and elective settings is on the rise. Emergency department (ED) visits in the postoperative period are increasingly used as quality measures for surgical care. The aim of this study is to determine the number of postoperative ED visits, the primary reason for these visits, and to identify risk factors associated with these visits. Methods: We examined all elective hand and elbow procedures performed at two hospitals within a single healthcare network between 2008 and 2017. A total of 3,261 patients met the study criteria. Descriptive statistics were calculated for our population, followed by univariate and multivariate analyses, to identify risk and protective factors associated with ED visits in the first 30 days after surgery. Results: Eighty-seven of 3,261 patients presented to the ED within 30 days of their operation (2.7%). The most common reasons for ED visits were related to pain (28.7%), swelling (26.4%), and concerns for infection (20.7%). Univariate analysis indicated history of drug use, number of procedures, smoking history, and serum albumin <3.5 mg/dL as risk factors for returns to the ED. Multivariate analysis identified history of drug use, number of procedures, and serum albumin <3.5 mg/dL as independent risk factors. Smoking history failed to achieve statistical significance as an independent risk factor. Both univariate and multivariate analyses identified age >60 years as protective for postoperative ED visits. Conclusions: ED visits within the first 30 days after elective hand surgery are relatively common, despite remarkably low complication rates among these procedures. This information may help to improve risk stratification in these patients, and to aid in the development of enhanced postoperative follow-up strategies to reduce unnecessary utilization of emergency medical services. Level of Evidence: Level III (Therapeutic).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-82
Number of pages7
JournalThe journal of hand surgery Asian-Pacific volume
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

Keywords

  • Elective hand surgery
  • Emergency department
  • Pain
  • Postoperative
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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