Background Emergency capacities in the operating theatre are limited and often need to be split among surgical departments. Hand injuries often have to compete with other surgical disciplines for the availability of operating capacity. For this reason, an emergency classification was introduced to define a timespan in which the injury should be taken care of in the OR in order to enable the prioritizing of emergency cases in an interdisciplinary approach when capacities are scarce. However, neither valid data nor specific recommendations concerning the medical urgency of treatment or the forensic background of different hand injuries exist to this date. Purpose This work describes how emergency classifications in Germany are applied to hand surgical cases and how certain hand injuries are prioritized among different hand surgeons. Material and Methods An online survey was sent to all members of the German Society for Hand Surgery twice during a time span of several months. The survey featured questions on size and type of clinic or practice and requested an assessment of urgency levels for various hand injuries (immediately-within 2 h-within 6 h-within 12 h-within 24 h or elective care). The analysis of the questionnaire and graphic presentation was carried out using Excel. Results 172 (25 %) out of 700 active members filled in the survey. Among the participants were members of university clinics, hospitals run by the German Statutory Accident Insurance, specialized clinics and primary care clinics. 15 % of participants work in a practice that offers hand-surgical treatment. First and foremost, maximum care hospitals with a hand surgical department participate in the treatment of hand injuries. 64 % of the hospitals use an emergency classification to enable the interdisciplinary prioritizing of surgical emergencies. The categorization of limb-threatening hand injuries appears to be very homogenous among participants whereas non-threatening injuries are assessed rather inconsistently. Conclusion Emergency treatment of hand injuries primarily depends on available resources and surgical capacities. The assessment of urgency and severity of injuries additionally depends on experience and education. In order to maintain the ability to compete with other surgical disciplines for surgical capacities, a standard classification of hand surgical urgencies needs to be established. As valid data on the treatment of hand injuries are still missing, further studies need to evaluate possible outcomes in order to define the timespan in which surgery should take place.
|Translated title of the contribution
|The Emergency Classification of Hand Injuries: Analyzing Urgency Assessment among German Hand Surgeons
|Handchirurgie Mikrochirurgie Plastische Chirurgie
|Number of pages
|Published - 01.02.2022
DFG Research Classification Scheme
- 205-27 Orthopaedics, Trauma Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery