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29.04.2019 | Review Article | Ausgabe 10/2019

Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 10/2019

Centralization of Pancreatic Surgery in Europe

Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery > Ausgabe 10/2019
Adam Polonski, Jakob R. Izbicki, Faik G. Uzunoglu
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The objective of this article is a review and an analysis of the current state of centralization of pancreatic surgery in Europe. Numerous recent publications demonstrate higher postoperative in-hospital mortality rates in low-volume clinics after pancreatic resection than previously assumed due to their not publishing significantly worse outcomes when compared to high-volume centres. Although the benefits of centralization of pancreatic surgery in high-volume centres have been demonstrated in many studies, numerous countries have so far failed to establish centralization in their respective health care systems.


A systematic literature search of the Medline database for studies concerning centralization of pancreatic surgery in Europe was conducted. The studies were reviewed independently for previously defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. We included 14 studies with a total of 117,634 patients. All data were extracted from or provided by health insurance company or governmental registry databases.


Thirteen out of the 14 studies demonstrate an improvement in their respective outcome related to volume. Twelve studies showed a significantly lower postoperative mortality rate in the highest annual volume group in comparison to overall postoperative mortality rate in the whole patient cohort.


As the available data indicate, most European countries have so far failed to establish centralization of pancreatic surgery to high-volume centres due to numerous reasons. Considering a plateau in survival rates of patients undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer in Europe during the last 15 years, this review enforces the worldwide plea for centralization to lower post-operative mortality after pancreatic surgery.

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