Research Projects
Emergency Laparotomy Organisational Audit - Looking at Perioperative (Anaesthetic and Surgical) Risk Factors and Morbidity Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Emergency Laparotomy

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☒ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS
About the Project

Objective and Significance:

  • To provide analytic information on the organization, optimization of care and functional outcomes for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy.
  • To identify areas of improvement in the delivery of care to patients undergoing emergency laparotomy.
  • To develop effective change (quality improvement initiatives) to spread examples of best practice and suggest secondary care provider Standards for all Hong Kong hospital providers of emergency laparotomy surgeries.
  • Clinical significance is to look at a high-risk cohort of patients (emergency bowel surgery patients with life-threatening conditions who need prompt investigations and treatment) and find ways to minimize postoperative complications. European studies show an overall 30 day mortality of between 9-15% [1] and this descriptive data has not been collected in Hong Kong so far.

Research Plan and Methodology:

Pilot study: Retrospective audit of adult patients over a 12-month period at Queen Mary Hospital, including patients who underwent an emergency laparotomy. Data collection will be from electronic patient records focussing on patient characteristics, patient outcomes, anaesthesia performed, timeliness of surgery, surgical findings, patient risk assessment, length of stay and input of senior clinical decision-makers.

Pending data analysis from pilot study, a further wide-scale prospective audit could be introduced across Hong Kong Hospital Authority hospital


  1. [1] Saunders DI et al. Variations in mortality after emergency laparotomy: The first report of the UK emergency laparotomy network. Br J Anaesth 2012;109:368–375.
About the Supervisor

Professor MG Irwin, Department of Anaesthesiology

The supervisor is a clinician scientist in Anaesthesiology with 30 years experience. The project will be conducted together with an oncologist.


Next Step?

For more information or to express interest for this project, please email the supervisor or the specified contact point in the project description.  Interested candidates are advised to enclose with your email:

  1. your CV,
  2. a brief description of your research interest and experience, and
  3. two reference letters (not required for HKUMed UG students seeking MRes[Med]/URIS projects).

Information on the research programme, funding support and admission documentations could be referenced online at the Research Postgraduate Admissions website. General admission enquiries should be directed to

HKUMed MBBS students interested in the Master of Research in Medicine (MRes[Med]) programme may visit the programme website for more information.  

HKUMed UG students interested in the Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS) may visit the scheme’s website for more information.