Being Old and Sick in an Emergency: How Multimorbidity Impacts Emergency General Surgery Outcomes

A recent study featuring PISC Senior Scholar Elinore Kaufman, MD, MSHP, and Executive Committee Member Daniel N. Holena, MD, FACS, examines the relationship between multimorbidity and EGS outcomes for older Americans. The study includes 312,160 patients above the age of 60 from New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Multimorbidity is classified using qualifying comorbidity sets based on increased risk in surgical settings. Results indicate that, overall, multimorbidity has a significant impact on EGS outcomes for older Americans. Elderly multimorbid patients are 6.6% more likely to experience in-hospital mortality, 16.6% more likely to experience complications, and 22.9% less likely to be discharged from the hospital. Certain combinations of comorbidities have more significant outcomes than other comorbidities. The team concludes that the “specifics” of comorbidities are essential to provide optimal care for every “individual, complex patient.”

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