MedStar Health Research Evaluates Risk Factors for Emergency Department Visits After Upper Extremity Surgery

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Recently published research evaluated pre-op and post-op patient questionnaires to identify if patient responses were related to subsequent emergency department visits 90-days after surgery. “Risk Factors for Emergency Department Visits After Upper Extremity Surgery” was published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open. The research team included Pragna N. Shetty, MPH; Kavya K. Sanghavi, MPH; and Aviram M. Giladi, MD, MS, from The Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.

The researchers reviewed more than 2,000 medical records and collected the patient’s presenting diagnosis, preoperative and postoperative questionnaires, pain scores, and postoperative satisfaction scores.  The results show that sixty-one (3.0%) patients presented to the emergency department with hand-related or surgery-related complaints within 90 days after surgery. Preoperative pain scores were higher in the group that presented to the ED compared to those that did not. Patients who presented to the emergency department had significantly worse preoperative questionnaire scores, and significantly lower postoperative satisfaction scores.

The research team concluded that those patients with worse preoperative questionnaire scores and lower postoperative satisfaction were associated with an increased likelihood of presenting to the emergency department for management of a hand or postoperative issue during the global period. These patients should be identified early and educated on their healthcare options in order to improve value-based care and decrease healthcare utilization.

This research abstract was awarded “Best Hand Abstract” at the 89th Annual Plastic Surgery The Meeting, attended virtually this year.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open, 2020. DOI: 10.1097/