Study Sees Benefits in Creating Database for Emergency Surgery


A patient-tracking database for emergency general surgery could improve patient outcomes and provide a resource for further research, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, FierceHealthIT reports (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 2/6).

Emergency general surgery cases include procedures such as:

  • Appendectomy;
  • Gallbladder removal; and
  • Hernia or intestinal repair.

Creation of the Registry

For the study, researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina compiled data on the center's emergency general surgery admissions between January 2009 and September 2009.

They then used the data to create an emergency general surgery registry modeled after the American College of Surgeons' National Trauma Data Bank and parts of ACS' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

Like the National Trauma Data Bank, the emergency general surgery registry contains data elements such as:

  • Emergency department records;
  • Demographic variables;
  • Laboratory information;
  • Medical history;
  • Primary diagnosis; and
  • Patient outcomes.

The registry also uses ICD-9 diagnostic codes to identify and classify emergency general surgery patients (ACS release, 2/6).

According to the study authors, the ICD-9 codes "established a definition of EGS patients and defined the principal reason why a patient was admitted to the EGS services" (FierceHealthIT, 2/6).


Although the emergency general surgery registry is a work in progress, researchers said the study shows that a fully implemented registry could establish performance metrics, advance research and improve outcomes in the same way that the National Trauma Data Bank improved trauma care.

Study co-author Robert Becher of Wake Forest University School of Medicine wrote that researchers hope the registry "will not only help advance the science of this field, but will also aid in establishing national benchmarks and standards of care, as trauma has done so well over the last 40 years" (ACS release, 2/6).

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