Helen J Sohn

University of Southern California, Los Ángeles, California, United States

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Publications (24)124.78 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The objective was to conduct a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluating the efficacy and morbidity of the management of acute uncomplicated (no abscess or phlegmon) appendicitis by antibiotics versus appendectomy. Appropriate trials were identified. The seven outcome variables were overall complication rate, treatment failure rate for index hospital admission, overall treatment failure rate, length of stay (LOS), utilization of pain medication, duration of pain, and sick leave. Both fixed and random effects meta-analyses were performed using odds ratios (ORs) and weighted or standardized mean differences (WMDs or SMDs, respectively). Five trials totaling 980 patients (antibiotics=510, appendectomy=470) were analyzed. In three of the seven outcome analyses, the summary point estimates favored antibiotics over appendectomy, with a 46% reduction in the relative odds of complications (OR 0.54; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.37, 0.78; p=0.001); a reduction in sick leave/disability (SMD -0.19; CI -0.33, -0.06; p=0.005), and decreased pain medication utilization (SMD -1.55; CI -1.96, -1.14; p<0.0001). For overall treatment failure, the summary point estimate favored appendectomy, with a 40.2% failure rate for antibiotics versus 8.5% for appendectomy (OR 6.72; CI 0.08, 12.99; p<0.001). Initial treatment failure, LOS, and pain duration were similar in the two groups. Non-operative management of uncomplicated appendicitis with antibiotics was associated with significantly fewer complications, better pain control, and shorter sick leave, but overall had inferior efficacy because of the high rate of recurrence in comparison with appendectomy.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Surgical Infections
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    ABSTRACT: To compare short-term outcomes after laparoscopic and open abdominal wall hernia repair. Using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database (2005-2009), 71,054 patients who underwent an abdominal wall hernia repair were identified (17% laparoscopic, 83% open). Laparoscopic and open techniques were compared. Regression models and nonparametric 1:1 matching algorithms were used to minimize the influence of treatment selection bias. The association between surgical approach and risk-adjusted adverse event rates after abdominal wall hernia repair was determined. Subgroup analysis was performed between inpatient/outpatient surgery, strangulated/reducible, and initial/recurrent hernias as well as between umbilical, incisional and other ventral hernias. Patients undergoing laparoscopic repair were less likely to experience an overall morbidity (6.0% vs. 3.8%; odds ratio [OR], 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56-0.68) or a serious morbidity (2.5% vs. 1.6%; OR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.52-0.71) compared to open repair. Analysis using multivariate adjustment and patient matching showed similar findings. Mortality rates were the same. Laparoscopically repaired strangulated and recurrent hernias, had a significantly lower overall morbidity (4.7% vs. 8.1%, P < 0.0001 and 4.1% vs. 12.2%, P < 0.0001, respectively). Significantly lower overall morbidity was also noted for the laparoscopic approach when the hernias were categorized into umbilical (1.9% vs. 3.0%, P = 0.009), ventral (3.9% vs. 6.3%, P < 0.0001), and incisional (4.3% vs. 9.1%, P < 0.0001). No differences were noted between laparoscopic and open repairs in patients undergoing outpatient surgery, when the hernias were reducible. Laparoscopic hernia repair is infrequently used and associated with lower 30-day morbidity, particularly when hernias are complicated.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Annals of surgery
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    ABSTRACT: The classic method of mesh fixation in laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is transfascial sutures with tacks. This method has been associated with low recurrence rates, but yields significant morbidity from pain and bleeding. Fibrin glue has been used successfully in inguinal hernia repair with decreased incidence of chronic pain without an increase in recurrence rates, but its utility for laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is unknown. Our aim is to evaluate the efficacy of fibrin glue for laparoscopic mesh fixation to the anterior abdominal wall compared with other fixation methods. Four different laparoscopic mesh fixation methods were randomly assigned to midline positions along the abdominal wall of 12 female pigs and compared: (1) fibrin glue only (GO), (2) transfascial sutures with tacks (ST), (3) fibrin glue with tacks (GT), and (4) tacks only (TO). At 4 weeks post implantation, tensile strength, adhesions, migration, contraction, and buckling/folding were assessed using Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis by ranks test. There were no significant differences in tensile strength, adhesions or buckling/folding among the four fixation methods. A significant increase in mean migration (3.3 vs. 0.0 mm, p = 0.03) and percentage contraction (28% vs. 14%, p = 0.02) were identified in the GO group when compared with ST (see Table 3). Mesh fixation using fibrin glue has comparable tensile strength and adhesion rate to sutures with tacks in the swine model. Increased contraction and migration rates associated with fibrin glue alone may be an issue and warrants further study. On the other hand, the GT group showed similar biomechanical characteristics to the other groups and may represent a reasonable alternative to the use of transfascial sutures.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Surgical Endoscopy
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    ABSTRACT: A decade ago we reported that laparoscopic repair of paraesophageal hernia (PEH) had an objective recurrence rate of 42% compared with 15% after open repair. Since that report we have modified our laparoscopic technique. The aim of this study was to determine if these modifications have reduced the rate of objective hernia recurrence. We retrospectively identified all patients that had primary repair of a PEH with ≥ 50% of the stomach in the chest from May 1998 to January 2010 with objective follow-up by videoesophagram. The finding of any size of hernia was considered to be recurrence. There were 73 laparoscopic and 73 open PEH repairs that met the study criteria. There were no significant differences in gender, body mass index, or prevalence of a comorbid condition between groups. The median follow-up was similar (12 months laparoscopic versus 16 months open; p = 0.11). In the laparoscopic group, 84% of patients had absorbable mesh reinforcement of the crural closure and 40% had a Collis gastroplasty, compared with 32% and 26%, respectively, in the open group. A recurrent hernia was identified in 27 patients (18%), 9 after laparoscopic repair and 18 after open repair (p = 0.09). The median size of a recurrent hernia was 3 cm, and the incidence of recurrence increased yearly in those with serial follow-up with no early peak or late plateau. In our first decade of laparoscopic PEH repair, no mesh crural reinforcement was used, and no patient had a Collis gastroplasty. Evolution in the technique of laparoscopic PEH repair during the subsequent decade has reduced the hernia recurrence rate to that seen with an open approach. Reduced morbidity and shorter hospital stay make laparoscopy the preferred approach, but continued efforts to reduce hernia recurrence are warranted.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of the American College of Surgeons
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    ABSTRACT: The Bravo capsule allows monitoring of esophageal acid exposure over a two-day period. Experience has shown that 24-32% of patients will have abnormal esophageal acid exposure detected on only one of the 2 days monitored. This variation has been explained by the effect of endoscopy and sedation. The aim of this study was to assess the day-to-day discrepancy following transnasal placement of the Bravo capsule without endoscopy or sedation and to determine factors related to this variability. Bravo pH monitoring was performed by transnasal placement of the capsule in 310 patients. Patients were divided into groups based on the composite pH score: both days normal, both days abnormal and only one of the 2 days abnormal. Lower esophageal sphincter (LES) characteristics were compared between groups. Of the 310 patients evaluated, 60 (19%) showed a discrepancy between the 2 days. A total of 127 patients had a normal pH score on both days and 123 had an abnormal pH score on both days. Of the 60 patients with a discrepancy, 27 were abnormal the first day and 33 (55%) were abnormal the second day. Patients with abnormal esophageal acid exposure on both days had higher degrees of esophageal acid exposure and were more likely to have a defective LES compared to those with an abnormal score on only one day (35 vs. 83%, p=0.027). Patients with a discrepancy between days of Bravo pH monitoring have lower esophageal acid exposure. Variability between the 2 days represents early deterioration of the gastroesophageal barrier and indicates less advanced reflux disease.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Surgical Endoscopy
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    ABSTRACT: Cervical esophageal pH monitoring using a pH threshold of <4 in the diagnosis of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is disappointing. We hypothesized that failure to maintain adequate alkalization instead of acidification of the cervical esophagus may be a better indicator of cervical esophageal exposure to gastric juice. The aim of this study was to define normal values for the percent time the cervical esophagus is exposed to a pH ≥7 and to use the inability to maintain this as an indicator for diagnosis of LPR. Fifty-nine asymptomatic volunteers had a complete foregut evaluation including pH monitoring of the cervical esophagus. Cervical esophageal exposure to a pH <4 was calculated, and the records were reanalyzed using the threshold pH ≥7. The sensitivity of these two pH thresholds was compared in a group of 51 patients with LPR symptoms that were completely relieved after an antireflux operation. Compared to normal subjects, patients with LPR were less able to maintain an alkaline pH in the cervical esophagus, as expressed by a lower median percent time pH ≥ 7 (10.4 vs. 38.2, p < 0.0001). In normal subjects, the fifth percentile value for percent time pH ≥ 7 in the cervical esophagus was 19.6%. In 84% of the LPR patients (43/51), the percent time pH ≥ 7 were below the threshold of 19.6%. In contrast, 69% (35/51) had an abnormal test when the pH records were analyzed using the percent time pH < 4. Of the 16 patients with a false negative test using pH < 4, 11 (69%) were identified as having an abnormal study when the threshold of pH ≥ 7 was used. Normal subjects should have a pH ≥7 in cervical esophagus for at least 19.6% of the monitored period. Failure to maintain this alkaline environment is a more sensitive indicator in the diagnosis of the LPR and identifies two thirds of the patients with a false negative test using pH <4.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2010 · Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · The American journal of medicine
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    ABSTRACT: The clinical outcomes for patients randomized to either open or laparoscopic appendectomy are comparable. However, it is not known whether this is true in the subset of the adult population with higher body mass indexes (BMIs). This study aimed to compare the outcomes of open versus laparoscopic appendectomy in the obese population. A subgroup analysis of a randomized, prospective, double-blind study was conducted at a county academic medical center. Of the 217 randomized patients, 37 had a BMI of 30 kg/m(2) or higher. Open surgery was performed for 14 and laparoscopic surgery for 23 of these patients. The primary outcome measures were the postoperative complication rates. The secondary outcomes were operative time, length of hospital stay, time to resumption of diet, narcotic requirements, and Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form 36 (SF-36) quality-of-life data. No differences in complications between the open and laparoscopic groups were found. Also, no significant differences were seen in any of the secondary outcomes except for a longer operative time among the obese patients. In this study, laparoscopic appendectomy did not show a benefit over the open approach for obese patients with appendicitis.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Surgical Endoscopy
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    ABSTRACT: Factors associated with the risk of progression of Barrett's esophagus remain unclear, and the impact of therapy on this risk remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to assess patients followed long-term after anti-reflux surgery for Barrett's esophagus. A retrospective review was performed of all patients with Barrett's who underwent anti-reflux surgery from 1989 to 2009 and had ≥5 years of follow-up. There were 303 patients and 75 had follow-up ≥5 years. Median follow-up time for the 75 patients was 8.9 years (range 5-18). Regression was seen in 31%. Progression occurred in 8%, and these patients were significantly more likely to have a failed fundoplication (67% vs. 16%, p = 0.0129). The rate of progression from non-dysplastic Barrett's to high-grade dysplasia or cancer was 0.8% per patient year, and was seven times higher in patients with a failed fundoplication. Compared to the accepted rate of progression of non-dysplastic Barrett's to high-grade dysplasia or cancer of 1.0% per patient year, anti-reflux surgery reduces this rate during long-term follow-up. The rate of progression was significantly lower in patients with an intact compared to a disrupted fundoplication, further suggesting that anti-reflux surgery can alter the natural history of Barrett's esophagus.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery

  • No preview · Article · May 2010 · Gastroenterology

  • No preview · Article · May 2010 · Gastroenterology

  • No preview · Article · May 2010 · Gastroenterology
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    ABSTRACT: Acute care surgery is a fellowship training model created to address the growing crisis in emergency healthcare due to decreased availability of on-call surgeons and reduction in operative procedures for trauma. Our objective was to identify the demographics and spectrum of diseases in patients presenting with non-trauma surgical emergencies and the use of laparoscopy in emergent surgery in light of implementing an acute care surgery model. All non-trauma emergency surgical consultations at a large urban academic medical center from January 2005 to December 2008 were retrospectively reviewed. A clinician-completed registry was used to obtain patient information. Diagnoses were categorized into five broad groups for statistical analysis. Median age was 41 years (range, 6 weeks to 97 years), 50% were men, and the majority (67%) was Hispanic. The most common disease category was infectious followed by hepatobiliary. Prevalence of disease categories differed significantly among various racial groups. Majority (86%) of consult patients required admission. Thirty-eight percent of the consults resulted in an operative procedure, 40% of which were laparoscopic. The percentage of laparoscopic procedures increased during the 4-year study period. Patients with non-trauma surgical emergencies are young with a significantly wide range of diseases based on race. Less than half require emergent surgery. Laparoscopy is prevalent in emergency surgery and growing. Resources should be allocated to maximize the ability to treat infectious and hepatobiliary diseases, and to increase utilization of laparoscopy. The acute care surgeon needs to be proficient in laparoscopy.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2010 · The Journal of trauma
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with respiratory and laryngeal symptoms are commonly referred for evaluation of reflux disease as a potential cause. Dual-probe pH monitoring is often performed, although data on normal acid exposure in the proximal esophagus are limited because of the small number of normal subjects and inconsistent placement of the proximal pH sensor in relation to the upper esophageal sphincter. We measured proximal esophageal acid exposure using dual-probe pH and calculated a composite pH score in a large number of asymptomatic volunteers to better define normal values. Eighty-one normal subjects free of reflux, laryngeal, or respiratory symptoms were recruited. All had video esophagraphy to exclude hiatal hernia. Esophageal pH monitoring was performed using 1 of 3 different dual-probe catheters with sensors spaced 10, 15, or 18 cm apart. The standard components of esophageal acid exposure were measured, excluding meal periods. A composite pH score for the proximal esophagus was calculated using these components. The final study population consisted of 59 (49% male) subjects, with a median age of 27 years. All had normal distal esophageal acid exposure and no hiatal hernia. The 95(th) percentile values for the percent time the pH was < 4 for the total, upright, and supine periods were 0.9%, 1.2%, and 0.4%, respectively. The 95(th) percentile for the number of reflux episodes was 24 and for the calculated proximal esophageal composite pH score was 16.4. In a large population of normal subjects, we have defined the normal values and calculated a composite pH score for proximal esophageal acid exposure. The total percent time pH < 4 was similar to previously published normal values, but the number of reflux episodes was greater.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Journal of the American College of Surgeons
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    ABSTRACT: Concern over potential injury to the anastomosis has limited the use of early postoperative endoscopy to diagnose conduit ischemia or anastomotic breakdown. Alternatively, a computed tomography (CT) scan has been suggested as a noninvasive means for identifying these complications. This study aimed to compare CT scan with early endoscopy for diagnosing gastric conduit ischemia or anastomotic breakdown after esophagectomy with cervical esophagogastrostomy. Between 2000 and 2007, 554 patients underwent an esophagectomy and gastric pull-up with cervical esophagogastrostomy at the University of Southern California. Records were reviewed to identify patients who had undergone endoscopy and CT scan within 24 h of each other during the first three postoperative weeks for suspicion of an ischemic conduit or anastomotic breakdown. The accuracies of CT scan and endoscopy in diagnosing an ischemic conduit were compared. A total of 76 patients had endoscopy and CT scan for clinical suspicion of conduit ischemia or anastomotic breakdown. Endoscopy was performed without complications in all 76 patients. The postoperative endoscopic findings were normal in 24 of the patients, and none subsequently experienced an ischemic conduit or anastomotic breakdown. Evidence of ischemia was present in 28 patients, 7 of whom had black mucosa throughout the gastric conduit with the anastomosis still intact and required removal of their conduit. The remaining 24 patients had partial or complete anastomotic breakdown. On the CT scan, 23 of the 76 patients showed evidence of conduit ischemia (n = 9) or anastomotic breakdown (n = 14). There was no evidence of ischemia or anastomotic breakdown on CT scan for the 24 patients with normal endoscopy or for 3 of the 7 patients who had their conduit removed for graft necrosis. A normal CT scan does not rule out the possibility of an ischemic gastric conduit after esophagectomy. Early endoscopy is a safe and accurate method for assessing conduit ischemia.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2010 · Surgical Endoscopy
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    ABSTRACT: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has been shown to increase morbidity but not mortality in trauma patients; however, little is known about the effects of ARDS in nontrauma surgical patients. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the risk factors for and outcomes of ARDS in nontrauma surgical patients. A prospective observational study was performed in the surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of an academic tertiary care center. From 2000 to 2005, all nontrauma surgical admissions to the surgical ICU were evaluated daily for ARDS based on predefined diagnostic criteria. Logistic regression analysis identified independent predictors for ARDS and ICU mortality. Of 2,046 patient identified, 125 (6.1%) met criteria for ARDS. The incidence of ARDS declined annually from 12.2% to 2.1% during the study period (p < 0.001). ARDS patients were significantly older (55.4 years vs. 51.8 years, p = 0.014) and more likely to be obese (32% vs. 22%, p = 0.007) than the non-ARDS population. Independent predictors of ARDS included use of pressors (relative risk, RR = 3.30), sepsis (RR = 1.72), and body mass index >or=30 kg/m (RR = 1.57). Independent predictors of ICU mortality included ARDS (RR = 6.88), pressors (RR = 2.85), positive fluid balance (RR = 2.27), Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (RR = 1.04), and age (RR = 1.02). Unlike trauma patients, ARDS was an independent predictor of ICU mortality in nontrauma surgical patients, independent of age and disease severity. Nontrauma surgical patients who developed ARDS were older, sicker, and had a longer ICU stay. Independent predictors of ARDS included use of pressors, sepsis, and obesity.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2009 · The Journal of trauma
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    ABSTRACT: In contrast to adult colonic intussusception in which malignancy is the dominant cause, small bowel intussusceptions are mostly benign. Although surgery is the accepted standard treatment, its necessity in small bowel intussusceptions identified by CT scan is unknown. Twenty-three patients from 2005 to 2008 (16 males; median age, 44 years) with acute abdominal pain and CT-proven small bowel intussusception were studied. Factors associated with the necessity for surgery were determined. Among 11 patients who were managed operatively, surgery was deemed unnecessary in two patients based on negative explorations. Follow up in 10 of 12 patients managed nonoperatively was not associated with any recurrence of intussusception or malignancy (median follow up, 14 months). The only predictor of the need for surgery was CT evidence of small bowel obstruction and/or a radiologically identified lead point, which was present in 7 of 9 (78%) patients having a necessary operation and absent in 12 of 14 (86%) with no indication for surgery (P = 0.008). All small bowel intussusceptions found on CT scan in patients with acute abdominal pain do not require operative management. CT findings of small bowel obstruction and/or presence of a lead point are indications for surgery.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2009 · The American surgeon
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    ABSTRACT: High-resolution manometry (HRM) is faster and easier to perform than conventional water perfused manometry. There is general acceptance of its usefulness in evaluating upper esophageal sphincter and esophageal body. There has been less emphasis on the use of HRM to evaluate the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) resting pressure and length, both factors important in LES barrier function. The aim of this study was to compare the resting characteristics of the LES determined by HRM and conventional manometry in the same patients. We performed both HRM and conventional manometry including a slow motorized pull-through technique in 55 patients with foregut symptoms. The characteristics of the LES analyzed were: resting pressure, total length, and abdominal length. Four available modes of HRM analysis were used to assess resting characteristics of the LES: spatiotemporal mode using both abrupt color change and isobaric contour, line tracing, and pressure profile. The values obtained from these four HRM modes were then compared to the conventional manometry measurements. High-resolution manometry and conventional manometry did not differ in their measurement of LES resting pressure. LES overall and abdominal length were consistently overestimated by HRM. A variability up to 4 cm in overall length was observed and was greatest in patients with hiatal hernia (1.8 vs. 0.9 cm, p = 0.027). The current construction of the catheter and software analysis used in high-resolution manometry do not allow precise measurement of LES length. Errors in the identification of the upper border of the sphincter may compromise accurate positioning of a pH probe.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2009 · Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Laparoscopic repair of an intrathoracic stomach has been associated with a high recurrence rate. The use of biologic or synthetic mesh to reinforce the crural repair has been shown to reduce recurrence. This study aimed to assess a simplified technique for reinforcing the crural repair using absorbable Vicryl mesh secured with BioGlue during laparoscopic repair of an intrathoracic stomach. The charts of all patients who underwent laparoscopic repair of an intrathoracic stomach from June 2006 to March 2009 using the described technique were retrospectively reviewed. Intrathoracic stomach was defined as more than 50% of the stomach herniated into the chest. Follow-up assessment was routinely performed 1 year or more after surgery and included endoscopy, video esophagram, Bravo 48-h pH monitoring, and a gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)-health-related quality-of-life (HRQL) questionnaire. A total of 35 patients (male:female = 10:25) with a mean age of 70 years (48-89 years) and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 30.4 kg/m(2) (20.4-44.8 kg/m(2)) underwent repair using this technique. The median operating time was 144 min (101-311 min), and the median hospital stay was 2 days (1-21 days). There were three conversions (8.6%) and one intraoperative complication (2.9%). Three patients (8.6%) experienced postoperative complications. No mesh-related complications occurred. Follow-up assessment 1 year or more after surgery was available for 21 of the 25 eligible patients [median follow-up period, 14 months (11-34 months)]. There were two recurrences (9.5%), one of them asymptomatic. The median GERD-HRQL score was 5 (2-28). Nearly all the patients (91.3%) were satisfied with the operation, and 96% would have it again. Vicryl mesh secured with BioGlue is a simple and easy method for reinforcing the crural closure during laparoscopic repair of an intrathoracic stomach. The recurrence rate at 1 year is low and comparable with that of other series using biologic mesh secured with sutures or tacks.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2009 · Surgical Endoscopy
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    ABSTRACT: We assessed outcomes in patients with gallstone pancreatitis (GSP) managed using a readmission pathway of discharge from the index admission with early readmission cholecystectomy and compared these with conventional management. We hypothesized that the pathway would decrease hospital length of stay (LOS). Prospective cohort study. County-based academic center. All patients admitted with GSP between June 1, 2005, and June 30, 2007. The control group consisted of patients from the year before the adoption of the readmission pathway. The pathway group patients were enrolled in the first year from its inception (July 1, 2006). Overall LOS, time from admission until operation, and pathway failures. Of 252 patients with GSP, 144 were managed by conventional methods, and 108 were managed using the readmission pathway. The overall mean (SD) LOS was 8.5 (6.0) days in the control group and 5.9 (3.1) days in the pathway group (P < .001). The mean (SD) times to surgery were 6.6 (4.5) days in the control group and 22.7 (10.4) days in the pathway group (P =.01). This did not lead to significantly more treatment failures, with 34 (23.6%) in the control group and 33 (30.6%) in the pathway group (P =.21). There were 6.5%(7 of 108) unplanned readmissions for recurrent pancreatitis in the pathway group. Morbidity was otherwise similar in both groups. Use of the readmission pathway's early discharge protocol decreased overall LOS and in this study population was not associated with any increase in morbidity compared with conventional management.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2008 · Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960)

Publication Stats

400 Citations
124.78 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2012
    • University of Southern California
      • • Keck School of Medicine
      • • Department of Surgery
      Los Ángeles, California, United States
  • 2010-2011
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Surgery
      Los Ángeles, California, United States