Just seven types of procedures account for about 80 percent of all hospital admissions, deaths, complications, and costs attributed to emergency general surgeries across the country, according to new research published in JAMA Surgery.
Each year, more than 3 million patients in the U.S. are admitted to hospitals for emergency general surgeries -- a group that includes the highest risk and most acutely ill patients.
Prior to the study, lead researcher Dr. Joaquim M. Havens, director of Emergency Surgical Services at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, said he noticed that patients who were coming in with serious medical problems requiring unplanned emergency surgery were not faring as well as he thought they should.
"When you look at surgeries done emergently and surgeries done electively, the outcomes are so different," he told CBS News. "It really challenged me to look deeper into what was going on."
Havens and a team of researchers analyzed a government database of more than 420,000 patients who underwent emergency general surgery between 2008 and 2011. Heart-related procedures and surgery resulting from traumatic events like car crashes were not included in the analysis.
The researchers ranked procedures by total burden, taking into account frequency, complications, mortality rates, and financial costs. In the end, they found seven operations that collectively accounted for 80 percent of procedures, 80 percent of deaths, 79 percent of complications, and 80 percent of inpatient costs nationwide.
Click through to see which seven surgeries topped the list.