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01.12.2014 | Original Article | Ausgabe 12/2014

Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 12/2014

Hospital Volume and Patient Outcomes in Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Surgery: Is Assessing Differences in Mortality Enough?

Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery > Ausgabe 12/2014
Eric B. Schneider, Aslam Ejaz, Gaya Spolverato, Kenzo Hirose, Martin A. Makary, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Nita Ahuja, Matthew Weiss, Timothy M. Pawlik
Wichtige Hinweise
This paper was presented at the Academic Surgical Congress (SUS/AAS) Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, February 4–6, 2014.



The impact of regionalization on morbidity, failure to rescue (FTR), length of stay (LOS), and readmission remains unclear. We sought to examine hospital-volume-related differences in outcomes following complex hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) surgery and define potential benefits of regionalization across quality metrics.


Patients undergoing HPB surgery in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked data from 1986 to 2002 were identified. Hospital volume was stratified into tertiles (low volume [LV] <4 cases/year; intermediate volume [IV] 4–10 cases/year; high volume [HV] ≥11 cases/year). The incidence of complications, FTR (mortality following a complication), and LOS was compared across hospital-volume strata. A counterfactual model examined hypothetical outcomes assuming all patients had been treated at HV centers.


Ten thousand two hundred eight patients underwent pancreatic (46.1 %), hepatic (36.2 %), or biliary (17.8 %) procedures. Overall mean age ranged from 72.7 years at HV centers to 73.4 at LV centers (P < 0.001), and patients at HV centers (75.4 %) were more likely to have ≥3 comorbidities versus IV (70.0 %) or LV (64.7 %) centers (P < 0.001). The incidence of post-operative complications was lower at HV (39.1 %) compared with IV (41.9 %) or LV (44.8 %) centers. Major complications included hemorrhagic anemia (7.3 %), failure to thrive (5.1 %), and respiratory infection/failure (3.5 %); each was less common in HV hospitals (P < 0.05). FTR after major complication tended to be higher at LV (36.7 %) and IV (37.3 %) hospitals compared with HV hospitals (29.7 %) (P = 0.10). Mortality was higher at LV (10.5 %) and IV (8.1 %) hospitals versus HV centers (5.4 %) (P < 0.001). HV hospital patients had shorter median LOS (10 days) compared with IV (12 days) or LV (12 days) hospital patients (P < 0.001). Readmission varied across centers (HV 19.1 % vs. IV 19.2 % vs. 16.7 %; P = 0.02). In a counterfactual model with all patients treated at a HV center, 6.4 % fewer complications and a 26.0 % increase in post-complication rescue would be expected, along with a 32.0 % reduction in index mortality and an 8.1 % reduction in total patient-days. A minor increase in readmissions (7.1 %) would be anticipated with 13.3 % fewer deaths during readmission.


Although patients treated at HV hospitals had more medical comorbidities, outcomes across a wide spectrum of quality metrics were better than at IV or LV hospital following complex HPB surgery. A 20–30 % reduction in morbidity and mortality and an 8 % reduction in hospital patient-days could be anticipated had all patients been treated at HV hospitals.

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