Assessing the waiting time for emergency orthopedic surgery for open fractures – A 6-month review of records at one of the largest referral public hospitals in Rwanda
INTRODUCTION: The delay in surgical intervention for open fractures can have severe negative consequences. However, the delay for patients with open fractures presenting at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK), one of the largest public hospitals in Kigali, Rwanda, had not been studied. This study assessed the waiting time for surgery and compared it against the 6-hour (ideal time) and 24-hours (acceptable time) standards.
METHODS: A review of the postoperative register and patients’ records was conducted. All medical charts of open fracture cases between April and September 2018 were audited. A surgical case was considered significantly delayed if the time interval from patient arrival at the emergency room to the operation theater was longer than 24 hours. The demographics, acuity level, insurance status and work shifts, were assessed using bi- and multivariate analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 115 open fracture case files were audited. From arrival at the emergency room to surgery, the median time was 41 hours (IQR 21, 93). Only 3 (2.6%) were operated within 6 hours and 38 (33%) within 6 to 24 hours. The main factor contributing to the delay was obtaining orthopedic consultation note and documenting the decision to operate (median 10 hours, IQR 4 to 17). Meanwhile, the designated emergency theater was not utilized for a total of 18 hours per day, especially during night shifts.
CONCLUSION: There was a significant delay in obtaining emergency orthopedic consultation and, thus, the timing of the surgical treatment. Examining the patient flow system in orthopedic surgical care delivery is needed in order to maximize theater utilization at this urban university hospital.
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