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Journal Article


Sanchez S, Payet C, Lifante JC, Polazzi S, Chollet F, Carty MJ, Duclos A. PLoS One 2015; 10(5): e0124644.


Hospices Civils de Lyon, Pôle Information Médicale Evaluation Recherche, Lyon, Rhône, France; Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital-Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America; Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, EAM Santé-Individu-Société 4128, Lyon, Rhône, France; Health Services and Performance Research Lab, Lyon, France.


(Copyright © 2015, Public Library of Science)






BACKGROUND: Mass tourism during winter in mountain areas may cause significant clustering of body injuries leading to increasing emergency admissions at hospital. We aimed at assessing if surgical safety and efficiency was maintained in this particular context.

METHODS: We selected all emergency admissions of open surgery performed in French hospitals between 2010 and 2012. After identifying mountain areas with increasing volume of surgical stays during winter, we considered seasonal variations in surgical outcomes using a difference-in-differences study design. We computed multilevel regressions to evaluate whether significant increase in emergency cases had an effect on surgical mortality, complications and length of stay. Clustering effect of patients within hospitals was integrated in analysis and surgical outcomes were adjusted for both patient and hospital characteristics.

RESULTS: A total of 381 hospitals had 559,052 inpatient stays related to emergency open surgery over 3 years. Compared to other geographical areas, a significant peak of activity was noted during winter in mountainous hospitals (Alps, Pyrenees, Vosges), ranging 6-77% volume increase. Peak was mainly explained by tourists' influx (+124.5%, 4,351/3,496) and increased need for orthopaedic procedures (+36.8%, 4,731/12,873). After controlling for potential confounders, patients did not experience increased risk for postoperative death (ratio of OR 1.01, 95%CI 0.89-1.14, p = 0.891), thromboembolism (0.95, 0.77-1.17, p = 0.621) or sepsis (0.98, 0.85-1.12, p = 0.748). Length of stay was unaltered (1.00, 0.99-1.02, p = 0.716).

CONCLUSION: Surgical outcomes are not compromised during winter in French mountain areas despite a substantial influx of major emergencies.

Language: en


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