The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
ES helped to design the study, conducted the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript. SAP and RW designed the study and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Hospital performance is being benchmarked increasingly against surgical indicators such as 30-day mortality, length-of-stay, survival and post-surgery complication rates. The aim of this paper was to examine oesophagectomy rates and post-surgical outcomes in cancers of the oesophagus and gastro-oesophageal junction and to determine how the addition of gastro-oesophageal cancer to oesophageal cancer impacts on these outcomes.
Our study population consisted of patients with a primary invasive oesophageal or gastro-oesophageal cancer identified from the NSW Cancer Registry from July 2000-Dec 2007. Their records were linked to the hospital separation data for determination of resection rates and post-resection outcomes. We used multivariate logistic regression analyses to examine factors associated with oesophagectomy and post-resection outcomes. Cox-proportional hazard regression analysis was used to examine one-year cancer survival following oesophagectomy.
We observed some changes in resection rates and surgical outcomes with the addition of gastro-oesophageal cancer patients to the oesophageal cancer cohort. 14.6% of oesophageal cancer patients and 26.4% of gastro-oesophageal cancer patients had an oesophagectomy; an overall oesophagectomy rate of 18.2% in the combined cohort. In the combined cohort, oesophagectomy was associated with younger age, being male and Australian-born, having non-metastatic disease or adenocarcinoma and being admitted in a co-located hospital. Rates of length-of-stay >28 days (20.9% vs 19.7%), 30-day mortality (3.8% vs 2.7%) and one-year survival post-surgery (24.5% vs 23.1%) were similar between oesophageal cancer alone and the combined cohort; whilst 30-day complication rates were 21.5% versus 17.0% respectively. Some factors statistically associated with post-resection complication in oesophageal cancer alone were not significant in the overall cohort. Poorer post-resection outcomes were associated with some patient (older age, birthplace) and hospital-related characteristics (fiscal sector, area health service).
Outcomes following oesophagectomy in oesophageal and gastro-oesophageal cancer patients in NSW are within world benchmarks. Our study demonstrates that the inclusion of gastro-oesophageal cancer did alter some outcomes compared to analysis based solely on oesophageal cancer. As such, care must be taken with analyses based on administrative health data to capture all populations eligible for treatment and to understand the contribution of these subpopulations to overall outcomes.