"Halo effect" in trauma centers: does it extend to emergent colectomy?

J Surg Res. 2016 Jun 1;203(1):231-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2016.01.037. Epub 2016 Feb 4.


Background: Trauma centers (TCs) have been demonstrated to improve outcomes for some nontrauma surgical conditions, such as appendicitis, but it remains unclear if this extends to all emergency general surgery procedures. Using emergent colectomy in patients with diverticulitis as index condition, this study compared outcomes between TCs and nontrauma centers (NTCs).

Materials and methods: The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (2006-2011) was queried for patients ≥16 y with diverticulitis who underwent emergency surgical intervention. Outcomes included mortality, total charges, and length of stay (LOS). Mortality in TC and NTC was compared using logistic regression, controlling for patient, procedure, and hospital-level characteristics. Adjusted total charges and LOS were analyzed using generalized linear models with gamma and Poisson distributions, respectively.

Results: A total of 25,396 patients were included, 5189 (20.4%) were treated at TC and 20,207 (79.6%) at NTC. Median age and sex distribution were similar. Unadjusted proportional in-hospital mortality did not differ between TC and NTC; median charges and LOS were greater in TC. After adjusting, the odds of mortality were significantly higher in TC (odds ratio [OR], 1.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-1.51; P = 0.003) as were mean charges and LOS (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The improved outcomes reported for other nontrauma conditions in TC were not observed for patients undergoing an emergent colectomy for diverticulitis after accounting for patient, procedure, and hospital-level characteristics. Future research is needed to assess differences in case mix between TC versus NTC and possible case-mix effects on outcomes to elucidate potential benefit of surgical care in a TC across the breadth of emergency general surgery conditions.

Keywords: Acute care surgery; Emergency general surgery; Emergent colectomy; Regionalization; Trauma centers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colectomy* / economics
  • Colectomy* / mortality
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / economics
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / mortality
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / surgery*
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Hospital Charges / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Trauma Centers* / economics
  • Trauma Centers* / standards
  • Trauma Centers* / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Young Adult