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HPB (Oxford). 2009 Feb;11(1):57-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-2574.2008.00012.x.

Outcomes in pancreatic resection are negatively influenced by pre-operative hospitalization.

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Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Quality improvement in high-acuity surgery increasingly relies on clinical pathways to streamline patient care and to maximize cost-efficiency. Yet, it remains unclear whether immediate pre-operative hospitalization (non-elective resection) influences operative performance and to what extent it alters the post-operative course.


Retrospective case series, cost analysis.University tertiary care referral centre. Four hundred and twelve consecutive pancreatic resections performed for benign and malignant disease between 2001 and 2008. Outcomes for both elective and non-elective operations were scrutinized, and correlated with deviations from our clinical Carepath for Pancreatic Resection. Observed-to-expected (O/E) morbidity ratios were calculated for each.


Overall, 39 patients (10%) required immediate pre-operative hospitalization, 22 (56%) of which were transferred from another hospital. The most common indications were pancreatitis, gastric outlet obstruction, intractable abdominal pain and gastrointestinal bleeding. During a 1- to 2-week hospitalization, 51% of patients underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP), 36% were administered parenteral nutrition, 20% received antibiotics and 15% were transfused blood products. Yet, this pre-operative scenario, at a median cost of $7250 per patient, had no measurable impact on operative performance. Post-operatively, non-elective patients suffered more complications and a higher (O/E) ratio (1.00 vs. 0.93). These outcomes resulted in significantly more deviations from our carepath and an additional $7000 per non-elective case.


Immediate pre-operative hospitalization has no meaningful impact on operative performance; yet, deviations from a standardized clinical pathway are far more likely after non-elective pancreatic resection, and result in more severe clinical and economic outcomes.


clinical pathway; complications; costs; pancreatic cancer; pancreatic resection; pancreaticoduodenectomy; quality; surgical outcomes

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