European society for trauma and emergency surgery member-identified research priorities in emergency surgery: a roadmap for future clinical research opportunities

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2024 Apr;50(2):367-382. doi: 10.1007/s00068-023-02441-3. Epub 2024 Feb 27.


Background: European Society for Trauma and Emergency Surgery (ESTES) is the European community of clinicians providing care to the injured and critically ill surgical patient. ESTES has several interlinked missions - (1) the promotion of optimal emergency surgical care through networked advocacy, (2) promulgation of relevant clinical cognitive and technical skills, and (3) the advancement of scientific inquiry that closes knowledge gaps, iteratively improves upon surgical and perioperative practice, and guides decision-making rooted in scientific evidence. Faced with multitudinous opportunities for clinical research, ESTES undertook an exercise to determine member priorities for surgical research in the short-to-medium term; these research priorities were presented to a panel of experts to inform a 'road map' narrative review which anchored these research priorities in the contemporary surgical literature.

Methods: Individual ESTES members in active emergency surgery practice were polled as a representative sample of end-users and were asked to rank potential areas of future research according to their personal perceptions of priority. Using the modified eDelphi method, an invited panel of ESTES-associated experts in academic emergency surgery then crafted a narrative review highlighting potential research priorities for the Society.

Results: Seventy-two responding ESTES members from 23 countries provided feedback to guide the modified eDelphi expert consensus narrative review. Experts then crafted evidence-based mini-reviews highlighting knowledge gaps and areas of interest for future clinical research in emergency surgery: timing of surgery, inter-hospital transfer, diagnostic imaging in emergency surgery, the role of minimally-invasive surgical techniques and Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols, patient-reported outcome measures, risk-stratification methods, disparities in access to care, geriatric outcomes, data registry and snapshot audit evaluations, emerging technologies interrogation, and the delivery and benchmarking of emergency surgical training.

Conclusions: This manuscript presents the priorities for future clinical research in academic emergency surgery as determined by a sample of the membership of ESTES. While the precise basis for prioritization was not evident, it may be anchored in disease prevalence, controversy around aspects of current patient care, or indeed the identification of a knowledge gap. These expert-crafted evidence-based mini-reviews provide useful insights that may guide the direction of future academic emergency surgery research efforts.

Keywords: Delphi Technique; Diagnosis; Emergency Surgery; Implementation Science; Research; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Research
  • Societies, Medical*
  • Traumatology
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery