The new timing in acute care surgery (new TACS) classification: a WSES Delphi consensus study

WSES TACS panel of experts

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Timely access to the operating room for emergency general surgery (EGS) indications remains a challenge across the globe, largely driven by operating room availability and staffing constraints. The “timing in acute care surgery” (TACS) classification was previously published to introduce a new tool to triage the timely and appropriate access of EGS patients to the operating room. However, the clinical and operational effectiveness of the TACS classification has not been investigated in subsequent validation studies. This study aimed to improve the TACS classification and provide further consensus around the appropriate use of the new TACS classification through a standardized Delphi approach with international experts. Methods: This is a validation study of the new TACS by a selected international panel of experts using the Delphi method. The TACS questionnaire was designed as a web-based survey. The consensus agreement level was established to be ≥ 75%. The collective consensus agreement was defined as the sum of the percentage of the highest Likert scale levels (4–5) out of all participants. Surgical emergency diseases and correlated clinical scenarios were defined for each of the proposed classes. Subsequent rounds were carried out until a definitive level of consensus was reached. Frequencies and percentages were calculated to determine the degree of agreement for each surgical disease. Results: Four polling rounds were carried out. The new TACS classification provides 6 colour-code classes correlated to a precise timing to surgery, defined scenarios and surgical condition. The WHITE colour-code class was introduced to rapidly (within a week) reschedule cancelled or postponed surgical procedures. Haemodynamic stability is the main tool to stratify patients for immediate surgery or not in the presence of sepsis/septic shock. Fifty-one surgical diseases were included in the different colour-code classes of priority. Conclusion: The new TACS classification is a comprehensive, simple, clear and reproducible triage system which can be used to assess the severity of the patient and the surgical disease, to reduce the time to access to the operating room, and to manage the emergency surgical patients within a “safe” timeframe. By including well-defined surgical diseases in the different colour-code classes of priority, validated through a Delphi consensus, the new TACS improves communication among surgeons, between surgeons and anaesthesiologists and decreases conflicts and waste and waiting time in accessing the operating room for emergency surgical patients. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalWorld Journal of Emergency Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2023


  • Classification
  • Delay in surgery
  • Delphi method
  • Emergency surgery
  • Healthcare system
  • Operating room management
  • Priority
  • Time to surgery
  • Timing in acute care surgery (TACS)
  • Triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine


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