Publication Date



Journal of the American College of Surgeons


BACKGROUND: Surgical analyses often focus on single or binary outcomes; we developed an ordinal Desirability of Outcome Ranking (DOOR) for surgery to increase granularity and sensitivity of surgical outcome assessments. Many studies also combine elective and urgent procedures for risk adjustment. We used DOOR to examine complex associations of race/ethnicity and presentation acuity.

STUDY DESIGN: NSQIP (2013 to 2019) cohort study assessing DOOR outcomes across race/ethnicity groups risk-adjusted for frailty, operative stress, preoperative acute serious conditions, and elective, urgent, and emergent cases.

RESULTS: The cohort included 1,597,199 elective, 340,350 urgent, and 185,073 emergent cases with patient mean age of 60.0 ± 15.8, and 56.4% of the surgeries were performed on female patients. Minority race/ethnicity groups had increased odds of presenting with preoperative acute serious conditions (adjusted odds ratio [aORs] range 1.22 to 1.74), urgent (aOR range 1.04 to 2.21), and emergent (aOR range 1.15 to 2.18) surgeries vs the White group. Black (aOR range 1.23 to 1.34) and Native (aOR range 1.07 to 1.17) groups had increased odds of higher/worse DOOR outcomes; however, the Hispanic group had increased odds of higher/worse DOOR (aOR 1.11, CI 1.10 to 1.13), but decreased odds (aORs range 0.94 to 0.96) after adjusting for case status; the Asian group had better outcomes vs the White group. DOOR outcomes improved in minority groups when using elective vs elective/urgent cases as the reference group.

CONCLUSIONS: NSQIP surgical DOOR is a new method to assess outcomes and reveals a complex interplay between race/ethnicity and presentation acuity. Combining elective and urgent cases in risk adjustment may penalize hospitals serving a higher proportion of minority populations. DOOR can be used to improve detection of health disparities and serves as a roadmap for the development of other ordinal surgical outcomes measures. Improving surgical outcomes should focus on decreasing preoperative acute serious conditions and urgent and emergent surgeries, possibly by improving access to care, especially for minority populations.


Humans, Female, Minority Groups, Cohort Studies, Ethnicity, Outcome Assessment, Health Care, Postoperative Complications, Retrospective Studies



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.