Short-term outcomes after emergency surgery for complicated peptic ulcer disease from the UK National Emergency Laparotomy Audit: a cohort study

Benjamin E Byrne, Michael Bassett, Chris A Rogers, Iain D Anderson, Ian Beckingham, Jane M Blazeby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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This study used national audit data to describe current management and outcomes of patients undergoing surgery for complications of peptic ulcer disease (PUD), including perforation and bleeding. It was also planned to explore factors associated with fatal outcome after surgery for perforated ulcers. These analyses were designed to provide a thorough understanding of current practice and identify potentially modifiable factors associated with outcome as targets for future quality improvement.


National cohort study using National Emergency Laparotomy Audit (NELA) data.


English and Welsh hospitals within the National Health Service.


Adult patients admitted as an emergency with perforated or bleeding PUD between December 2013 and November 2015.


Laparotomy for bleeding or perforated peptic ulcer.


The primary outcome was 60-day in-hospital mortality. Secondary outcomes included length of postoperative stay, readmission and reoperation rate.


2444 and 382 procedures were performed for perforated and bleeding ulcers, respectively. In-hospital 60-day mortality rates were 287/2444 (11.7%, 95% CI 10.5% to 13.1%) for perforations, and 68/382 (17.8%, 95% CI 14.1% to 22.0%) for bleeding. Median (IQR) 2-year institutional volume was 12 (7-17) and 2 (1-3) for perforation and bleeding, respectively. In the exploratory analysis, age, American Society of Anesthesiology score and preoperative systolic blood pressure were associated with mortality, with no association with time from admission to operation, surgeon grade or operative approach.


Patients undergoing surgery for complicated PUD face a high 60-day mortality risk. Exploratory analyses suggested fatal outcome was primarily associated with patient rather than provider care factors. Therefore, it may be challenging to reduce mortality rates further. NELA data provide important benchmarking for patient consent and has highlighted low institutional volume and high mortality rates after surgery for bleeding peptic ulcers as a target for future research and improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere023721
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Early online date20 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Structured keywords

  • BTC (Bristol Trials Centre)
  • Centre for Surgical Research


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