Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the relation between surgeon age and in-hospital mortality for patients who underwent a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) using a nationwide population-based data set.
Methods: This study used data from the 2004 Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The study sample comprised 3766 patients hospitalized for CABG surgery and was divided into three equal-sized surgeon age groups: <40, 40 to 45, and >45 years. A conditional (fixed-effect) logistic regression was performed to examine the relation between surgeon age and in-hospital mortality after adjusting for surgeon CABG caseload and characteristics of patients and surgeons as well as the clustering effect among surgeons.
Results: Patients who underwent CABG performed by surgeons in the <40 years age group had significantly higher in-hospital mortality rates (5.4%) than those operated on by surgeons in the 40- to 45-year age group (3.5%) and surgeons in the >45-year age group (2.6%). Regression shows that the adjusted odds ratio of in-hospital mortality for patients operated on by surgeons in the <40-year age group was 1.47 (p < 0.05) times that for surgeons in the 40- to 45-year age group and 1.82 (p < 0.05) times that for surgeons in the >45-year age group.
Conclusion: We conclude that older surgeons are more likely to achieve better clinical performance with CABG surgery because of their greater clinical experience.