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Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Oct;72(4):1118-24.

Impact of hospital volume on clinical and economic outcomes for esophagectomy.

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  • 1Division of General Thoracic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.



Several complex surgical procedures had a reduction in mortality when they were performed at high volume centers. We hypothesized esophagectomy procedures for cancer performed at high volume hospitals in the state of Massachusetts would show a similar relationship.


Data were obtained from the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium on discharge information for all acute care hospitals in Massachusetts regardless of payer from 1992 to 2000. The influence of hospital volume was related to days in the intensive care unit, length of stay, discharge disposition, hospital mortality, and total cost. Hospitals were stratified to low volume hospitals (< 6 cases per year) and high volume hospitals (> 6 cases per year).


One thousand one hundred ninety-three patients underwent esophagectomy during this 8-year study period in Massachusetts. Three high volume hospitals performed 56.5% of all resections (674 of 1,193). Sixty-one low volume hospitals performed 43.5% of the resections (519 of 1,193) with an average volume of only 1 case of esophagectomy per year. High volume hospitals were associated with a 2-day decrease in median length of stay (p < 0.001), a 3-day reduction in median intensive care unit stay (p < 0.001), an increased rate of home discharges (as opposed to rehabilitation hospitals) (p < 0.001), and a 3.7-fold decrease in hospital mortality (9.2% vs 2.5%; p < 0.001). The odds ratio of death at a low volume hospital was 4.3 (95% confidence interval, 2.3 to 7.7; p < 0.001). The median cost was $755 dollars greater at high volume hospitals (p = not significant).


Hospitals that perform a high volume of esophagectomies have better results with early clinical outcomes and marked reductions in mortality compared with low volume hospitals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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