Emergency surgery represents an essential aspect of surgical care, but little is known about realization of the planned emergency class. Different systems such as NCEPOD classification and Timing of Acute Care Surgery classification have been developed for the timing of the emergency surgery. The aim of the study was to find out how well planned urgency class is being implemented.
The planned and realized waiting times for all emergency surgeries were studied during the 6-month period in the Oulu University Hospital. The catchment area of the hospital includes a population of 742,000. The urgency in the hospital is planned in a four-step scale: an extremely urgent (E) patient should be taken immediately to the operating theater. Class I urgency surgery should start within 3?h (180?min), class II within 8 h (480?min), and class III within 24?h (1440?min). Surgeon plans urgency at his discretion, and no specific urgency has been imposed on certain diagnoses thus the surgeon's perceptions of the illness or trauma affects the assessment.
Extreme urgent patients had an average waiting time of 26?min. For class I patient, the average waiting time was 59?min, while 93% of surgeries were started within the target time. For class II and class III patients, these figures were 337?min and 86% and 830?min and 78%, respectively.
With regard to urgency, the higher the degree of urgency, the greater the chance of the surgery being realized within the planned time.