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J Gastrointest Surg. 1998 Mar-Apr;2(2):186-92.

A hospital's annual rate of esophagectomy influences the operative mortality rate.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


The reported operative mortality rate for esophagectomy for malignancy ranges from 2% to 30%. The goal of this retrospective study was to evaluate the relationship between a hospital's annual rate of esophagectomy for esophageal cancer and the clinical outcome of the operation. Discharge abstracts of 1561 patients who had undergone esophagectomy for malignancy at acute care hospitals in California from 1990 through 1994 were obtained from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. The hospitals were grouped according to the number of esophagectomies performed during the 5-year period, and a mortality rate was calculated for each group. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between a hospital's rate of esophagectomy and the mortality rate. Esophageal resections were performed in 273 hospitals. An average of two or fewer resections were performed annually in 88% of hospitals, which accounted for 50% of all patients treated. The mortality rate in hospitals with more than 30 esophagectomies for the 5-year period was 4.8%, compared with 16% for hospitals with fewer than 30 esophagectomies. This could not be accounted for by other health variables affecting the patients' risk for surgery. There was a striking correlation between a hospital's frequency of esophagectomy and the outcome of this operation. The results support the proposition that high-risk general surgical procedures, such as esophagectomy for malignancy, should be restricted to hospitals that can exceed a yearly minimum experience.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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