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Emergency department use and hospital admission in children following ambulatory surgery: a retrospective population-based cohort study


Introduction — Paediatric ambulatory surgery (same day surgery and planned same day discharge) is more frequently being performed more in Canada and around the world; however, after surgery children may return to hospital, either through the emergency department (ED) or through a hospital admission (HA). The aim of this study was to determine the patient characteristics associated with ED visits and HA in the 3 days following paediatric ambulatory surgery.

Methods — This population-based retrospective cohort study used de-identified health administrative database housed at ICES and included residents of Ontario, younger than 18 years of age, who underwent ambulatory surgery between 2014 and 2018. Patients were not involved in the design of this study. The proportion of ED visit and HA were calculated for the total cohort, and the type of surgery. The ORs and 95% CIs were calculated for each outcome using logistic regression.

Results — 83 468 children underwent select ambulatory surgeries. 2588 (3.1%) had an ED visit and 608 (0.7%) had a HA in the 3 days following surgery. The most common reasons for ED visits included pain (17.2%) and haemorrhage (10.5%). Reasons for HA included haemorrhage (24.8%), dehydration (21.9%), and pain (9.1%).

Conclusions — Our findings suggest that pain, bleeding and dehydration symptoms are associated with a return visit to the hospital. Implementing approaches to prevent, identify and manage these symptoms may be helpful in reducing ED visits or hospital admissions.



Sawhney M, VanDenKerkhof EG, Goldstein DH, Wei X, Pare G, Mayne I, Tranmer J. BMJ Paediatr Open. 2021; 5(1):e001188. Epub 2021 Nov 23.

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