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Functional Status is Key to Long-term Survival in Emergency General Surgery Conditions

Published:November 21, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2022.10.034

      Abstract

      Introduction

      Emergency General Surgery (EGS) conditions in older patients constitutes a substantial public health burden due to high morbidity and mortality. We sought to utilize a supervised machine learning method to determine combinations of factors with the greatest influence on long-term survival in older EGS patients.

      Methods

      We identified community dwelling participants admitted for EGS conditions from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey linked with claims (1992-2013). We categorized three binary domains of multimorbidity: chronic conditions, functional limitations, and geriatric syndromes (such as vision or hearing impairment, falls, incontinence). We also collected EGS disease type, age, and sex. We created a classification and regression tree (CART) model to identify groups of variables associated with our outcome of interest, three-year survival. We then performed Cox proportional hazards analysis to determine hazard ratios for each group with the lowest risk group as reference.

      Results

      We identified 1960 patients (median age 79 [interquartile range [IQR]: 73, 85], 59.5% female). The CART model identified the presence of functional limitations as the primary splitting variable. The lowest risk group were patient aged ≤81 y with biliopancreatic disease and without functional limitations. The highest risk group was men aged ≥75 y with functional limitations (hazard ratio [HR] 11.09 (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.91-20.83)). Notably absent from the CART model were chronic conditions and geriatric syndromes.

      Conclusions

      More than the presence of chronic conditions or geriatric syndromes, functional limitations are an important predictor of long-term survival and must be included in presurgical assessment.

      Keywords

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