Does speed matter? A look at NSQIP-P outcomes based on operative time

Bryce M. Bludevich, Paul D. Danielson, Christopher W. Snyder, Anh Thy H. Nguyen, Nicole M. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Appendicitis is a common pediatric surgical condition, comprising a large burden of healthcare costs. We aimed to determine if prolonged operative times were associated with increased 30-day complication rates when adjusting for pre-operative risk factors. Methods: Patients <18 years old, diagnosed intraoperatively with acute uncomplicated appendicitis and undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy were identified from the NSQIP-P 2012–2018 databases. The primary outcome, “infectious post-operative complications”, is a composite of sepsis, deep incisional surgical site infections, wound disruptions, superficial, and organ space infections within 30-days of the operation. Secondary outcomes included return to the operating room and unplanned readmissions within 30 days. Logistic regression models were used to assess associations between operative time and each outcome. A Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve was generated from the predicted probabilities of the multivariate model for infectious post-operative complications to examine operative times. Results: Between 2012 and 2018, 27,763 pediatric patients with acute uncomplicated appendicitis underwent a laparoscopic appendectomy. Over half the population was male (61%) with a median operative time of 39 min (IQR 29–52 min). Infectious post-operative complication rate was 2.8% overall and was highest (8%) among patients with operative time ≥ 90 min (Fig. 1). Unplanned readmission occurred in 2.9% of patients, with 0.7% returning to the operating room. Each 30-min increase in operating time was associated with a 24% increase in odds of an infectious post-operative complication (OR=1.24, 95% CI=1.17–1.31) in adjusted models. Operative time thresholds predicted with ROC analysis were most meaningful in younger patients with higher ASA class and pre-operative SIRS/Sepsis/Septic shock. Longer operative times were also associated with higher odds of unplanned readmission (OR=1.11, 95% CI=1.05–1.18) and return to the operating room (OR=1.13, 95% CI=1.02–1.24) in adjusted models. Conclusion: There is a risk-adjusted association between prolonged operative time and the occurrence of infectious post-operative complications. Infectious postoperative complications increase healthcare spending and are currently an area of focus in healthcare value models. Future studies should focus on addressing laparoscopic appendectomy operative times longer than 60 min, with steps such as continuation of antibiotics, shifting roles between attending and resident surgeons, and simulation training. Level of Evidence: Level III, retrospective comparative study

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1113
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Acute appendicitis
  • Laparoscopic appendectomy
  • Operative time
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Uncomplicated appendicitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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