Hypothesis: High-volume surgeons and hospitals are more likely to perform laparoscopic procedures than open procedures for diverticular disease as compared with low-volume surgeons and hospitals.
Design: Real-world analysis.
Setting: United States community hospitals.
Patients: Patients with primary International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnosis codes for diverticulosis or diverticulitis and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision procedure codes for laparoscopic or open sigmoidectomy were selected from the 1992 to 2001 Nationwide Inpatient Samples commercially available US databases.
Main outcome measures: The outcome variable was the likelihood of performing laparoscopic vs open sigmoid resection. The primary predictor variable was the annual caseload of sigmoid resections per surgeon and hospital.
Results: The study population included 55,949 patients who were predominantly white (70.5%) with a mean (SD) age of 60.7 (14.7) years. Unadjusted and risk-adjusted odds ratios of performing laparoscopic sigmoidectomy were significantly higher for high-volume surgeons and high-volume hospitals. In fact, high-volume surgeons were 8.80 times more likely to perform a laparoscopic sigmoid resection compared with low-volume surgeons. Similarly, in high-volume hospitals, patients were 3.02 times more likely to undergo a laparoscopic sigmoid resection compared with patients who underwent surgery in low-volume hospitals. These clinically relevant differences remained statistically significant in subset analyses stratified by age (<65 vs > or =65 years) and time of surgery (elective vs nonelective).
Conclusions: The findings of the present investigation based on data from large US nationwide databases provide compelling evidence that high-volume surgeons and hospitals are significantly more likely to perform laparoscopic surgery for diverticular disease compared with low-volume surgeons and hospitals. Based on recent studies showing clear advantages of the laparoscopic technique over the open counterpart, our results should be considered by both patients and physicians.