Factors associated with the development of acute general surgical pathology in medical inpatients

Prasanna Partha Sarathy, Martin Veysey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Medical inpatients can develop acute general surgical conditions. However, this is rare. The presence of multiple acute pathologies delays diagnosis and these patients have poorer prognoses.

Aim: To determine the incidence, risk factors and prognosis of medical inpatients developing acute general surgical conditions.

Methods: A single-centre retrospective case–control study was conducted over 1 year in the United Kingdom. Medical patients developing acute surgical pathology were identified using the local referral system. For each case, two controls were selected from a pool of medical inpatients receiving no general surgical input during their admission. Patient records were used to collect hospital admission details, demographic and laboratory data. Univariate analysis and multivariable analysis were performed.

Results: The study included 42 cases and 84 controls. The incidence of general surgical pathology in medical inpatients was 2.3/1000 admissions/year. In multivariate analysis, risk factors associated with developing general surgical pathology were previous abdominal surgery (odds ratio (OR) =3.68; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.43 to 9.48; P = 0.007) and doubling from baseline creatinine (OR = 18.9; 95% CI: 2.57 to 139; P = 0.004). Patients with surgical pathology had longer inpatient stays (22.8 vs 9.4 days; P < 0.001) and a higher inpatient mortality (23.8% vs 7.1%; P = 0.011). Development of surgical pathology was strongly associated with mortality (OR = 4.06; 95% CI: 1.36 to 12.1).

Conclusion: The development of acute surgical pathology in medical inpatients is rare but associated with longer inpatient stays and higher mortality. We have identified risk-factors associated with the development of surgical pathology, which can be used to identify patients at risk of surgical pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-657
Number of pages7
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • complications
  • development
  • inpatient
  • medical
  • surgical


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