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Complications, Death More Likely Among Surgery Patients Transferred Between Hospitals

Patients transferred between hospitals to receive emergency general surgery are more likely to experience complications or death than patients directly admitted to a hospital, according to an AHRQ-funded study published in the journal Surgery. Patients with emergency general surgery conditions, such as appendicitis and small bowel obstruction, are a growing population, researchers noted. Using AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project to analyze data on more than 10.7 million patient encounters, they found that nearly 40 percent of transferred patients experienced some complication, compared with over 25 percent of patients who were directly admitted. Over 4 percent of transferred patients died, compared with less than 2 percent of patients who were directly admitted. Researchers called for further study into the risk factors influencing higher death and complication numbers among transferred patients.

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