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Prevalence of multimorbidity and its association with outcomes in older emergency general surgical patients: an observational study

Hewitt, Jonathan ORCID:, McCormack, Caroline, Tay, Hui Sian, Greig, Matthew, Law, Jennifer, Tay, Adam, Asnan, Nurwasimah Hj, Carter, Ben Richard, Myint, Phyo Kyaw, Pearce, Lyndsay, Moug, Susan J, McCarthy, Kathryn and Stechman, Michael J 2016. Prevalence of multimorbidity and its association with outcomes in older emergency general surgical patients: an observational study. BMJ Open 6 (3) , e010126. 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010126

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Objectives Multimorbidity is the presence of 2 or more medical conditions. This increasingly used assessment has not been assessed in a surgical population. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of multimorbidity and its association with common outcome measures. Design A cross-sectional observational study. Setting A UK-based multicentre study, included participants between July and October 2014. Participants Consecutive emergency (non-elective) general surgical patients admitted to hospital, aged over 65 years. Outcome measures The outcome measures were (1) the prevalence of multimorbidity and (2) the association between multimorbidity and frailty; the rate and severity of surgery; length of hospital stay; readmission to hospital within 30 days of discharge; and death at 30 and 90 days. Results Data were collected on 413 participants aged 65–98 years (median 77 years, (IQR (70–84)). 51.6% (212/413) participants were women. Multimorbidity was present in 74% (95% CI 69.7% to 78.2%) of the population and increased with age (p<0.0001). Multimorbidity was associated with increasing frailty (p for trend <0.0001). People with multimorbidity underwent surgery as often as those without multimorbidity, including major surgery (p=0.03). When comparing multimorbid people with those without multimorbidity, we found no association between length of hospital stay (median 5 days, IQR (1–54), vs 6 days (1–47), (p=0.66)), readmission to hospital (64 (21.1%) vs 18 (16.8%) (p=0.35)), death at 30 days (14 (4.6%) vs 6 (5.6%) (p=0.68)) or 90-day mortality (28 (9.2%) vs 8 (7.6%) (p=0.60)). Conclusions and implications Multimorbidity is common. Nearly three-quarters of this older emergency general surgical population had 2 or more chronic medical conditions. It was strongly associated with age and frailty, and was not a barrier to surgical intervention. Multimorbidity showed no associations across a range of outcome measures, as it is currently defined. Multimorbidity should not be relied on as a useful clinical tool in guidelines or policies for older emergency surgical patients.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RD Surgery
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 2044-6055
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 April 2016
Date of Acceptance: 1 March 2016
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2023 08:19

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