Fluorescence imaging is a real-time intraoperative navigation modality to enhance surgical vision and it can guide emergency surgeons while performing difficult, high-risk surgical procedures. The aim of this study is to assess current knowledge, attitudes, and practices of emergency surgeons in the use of indocyanine green (ICG) in emergency settings. Between March 08, 2023 and April 10, 2023, a questionnaire composed of 27 multiple choice and open-ended questions was sent to 200 emergency surgeons who had previously joined the ARtificial Intelligence in Emergency and trauma Surgery (ARIES) project promoted by the WSES.

The questionnaire was developed by an emergency surgeon with an interest in advanced technologies and artificial intelligence. The response rate was 96% (192/200). Responders affirmed that ICG fluorescence can support the performance of difficult surgical procedures in the emergency setting, particularly in the presence of severe inflammation and in evaluating bowel viability. Nevertheless, there were concerns regarding accessibility and availability of fluorescence imaging in emergency settings. Eighty-seven out of 192 (45.3%) respondents have a fluorescence imaging system of vision for both elective and emergency surgical procedures; 32.3% of respondents have this system solely for elective procedures; 21.4% of respondents do not have this system, 15% do not have experience with it, and 38% do not use this imaging in emergency surgery. Less than 1% (2/192) affirmed that ICG fluorescence changed always their intraoperative decision-making. Precision surgery effectively tailors surgical interventions to individual patient characteristics using advanced technology, data analysis and artificial intelligence.

ICG fluorescence can serve as a valid and safe tool to guide emergency surgery in different scenarios, such as intestinal ischemia and severe acute cholecystitis. Due to the lack of high-level evidence within this field, a consensus of expert emergency surgeons is needed to encourage stakeholders to increase the availability of fluorescence imaging systems and to support emergency surgeons in implementing ICG fluorescence in their daily practice.


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