Acute care surgery: the European model

World J Surg. 2008 Aug;32(8):1605-12. doi: 10.1007/s00268-008-9501-4.


Background: This study was designed to determine whether there is in fact a European model of acute care surgery and to describe the different care systems in the individual European countries.

Methods: Questionnaires were sent to experts on emergency surgery in 27 European countries. The assessment of attitudes toward the emerging discipline of acute care surgery was the main outcome measure.

Results: Replies were received from at least one respondent from each of 18 countries. They indicated a high awareness of the new field of acute care surgery, although this has not yet become a recognized (sub-)specialty in any of the countries polled. In addition, several interesting new trends were identified: for example, different approaches depending on individual political influences.

Conclusions: There is no European consensus on acute care surgery. In some central European countries, specialists qualify in general and orthopedic trauma surgery; these all rounders also perform life-saving thoracic and neurosurgical procedures, such as emergency thoracotomies and craniotomies. The European model is not a uniform system for acute surgical care.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Emergency Treatment / standards*
  • Emergency Treatment / trends
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trauma Centers / standards*
  • Trauma Centers / trends
  • Traumatology / standards*
  • Traumatology / trends
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*