Background: Outcomes after nonelective surgery for gastric cancer (GC) are poorly defined. Our objective was to compare outcomes of patients undergoing nonelective GC surgery after admission through the emergency department (EDSx) with patients receiving elective surgery or surgery after planned admission (non-EDSx) nationally. Methods: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was used to examine patients undergoing GC surgery between 2008 and 2012. Demographics and outcomes were compared between EDSx and non-EDSx. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine predictors of discharge to home. Results: Of 9279 patients, 1143 (12%) underwent EDSx. They were more likely to be female (42 vs. 35%), nonwhite (56 vs. 33%), aged ≥75 years (40 vs. 26%), in the lowest quartile for household income (31 vs. 25%), have one or more comorbidities (87 vs. 70%), treated at a nonteaching hospital (46 vs. 25%), and have a concomitant diagnosis of obstruction, perforation, or bleeding (30 vs. 6%). They had longer total length of stay (LOS; 16 vs. 9 days), longer median postoperative stays (10 vs. 9 days), higher in-hospital mortality (8 vs. 3%), and were less likely to be discharged home (63 vs. 82%). EDSx was more expensive ($125,300 vs. $83,604). EDSx was associated with a lower likelihood of discharge to home (odds ratio 0.52, 95% CI 0.43–0.62). Conclusions: Nationally, 12% of GC surgeries are performed after emergency department admission, which occurs more frequently in vulnerable populations and results in worse outcomes. Understanding factors leading to increased EDSx and developing strategies to decrease EDSx may improve GC surgery outcomes.
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