Background Laparoscopic cholecystectomies can be performed at night in high-volume acute care hospitals. We hypothesized that nonelective nighttime laparoscopic cholecystectomies are associated with increased postoperative complications.
Study Design We conducted a single-center retrospective review of consecutive laparoscopic cholecystectomy patients between October 2010 and May 2011 at a safety-net hospital in Houston, Texas. Data were collected on demographics, operative time, time of incision, length of stay, 30-day postoperative complications (ie, bile leak/biloma, common bile duct injury, retained stone, superficial surgical site infection, organ space abscess, and bleeding) and death. Statistical analyses were performed using STATA software (version 12; Stata Corp).
Results During 8 months, 356 patients had nonelective laparoscopic cholecystectomies. A majority were female (n = 289 [81.1%]) and Hispanic (n = 299 [84%]). There were 108 (30%) nighttime operations. There were 29 complications in 18 patients; there were fewer daytime than nighttime patients who had at least 1 complication (4.0% vs 7.4%; p = 0.18). On multivariate analysis, age (odds ratio = 1.06 per year; 95% CI, 1.02-1.10; p = 0.002), case duration (odds ratio = 1.02 per minute; 95% CI, 1.01-1.02; p = 0.001), and nighttime surgery (odds ratio = 3.33; 95% CI, 1.14-9.74; p = 0.001) were associated with an increased risk of 30-day surgical complications. Length of stay was significantly longer for daytime than nighttime patients (median 3 vs 2 days; p < 0.001).
Conclusions Age, case duration, and nighttime laparoscopic cholecystectomy were predictive of increased 30-day surgical complications at a high-volume safety-net hospital. The small but increased risk of complications with nighttime laparoscopic cholecystectomy must be balanced against improved efficiency at a high-volume, resource-poor hospital.
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