Background: The impact of nationwide centralization of pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) on mortality is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to analyse changes in hospital volumes and in-hospital mortality after PD in the Netherlands between 2004 and 2009.
Methods: Nationwide data on International Classification of Diseases, ninth revision (ICD-9) code 5-526 (PD, including Whipple), patient age, sex and mortality were retrieved from the independent nationwide KiwaPrismant registry. Based on established cut-off points of annually performed PDs, hospitals were categorized as very low (fewer than 5), low (5-10), medium (11-19) or high (at least 20) volume. A subgroup analysis based on a cut-off age of 70 years was also performed.
Results: Some 2155 PDs were included. The number of hospitals performing PD decreased from 48 in 2004 to 30 in 2009 (P = 0·011). In these specific years, the proportion of patients undergoing PD in a medium- or high-volume centre increased from 52·9 to 91·2 per cent (P < 0·001). Nationwide mortality rates after PD decreased from 9·8 to 5·1 per cent (P = 0·044). The mortality rate during the 6-year period was 14·7, 9·8, 6·3 and 3·3 per cent in very low-, low-, medium- and high-volume hospitals respectively (P < 0·001). The difference in mortality between medium- and high-volume centres was statistically significant (P = 0·004). The volume-outcome relationship was not influenced by age (P = 0·467). The mortality rate after PD in patients aged at least 70 years was 10·4 per cent compared with 4·4 per cent in younger patients (P < 0·001).
Conclusion: With nationwide centralization of PD, the in-hospital mortality rate after this procedure decreased. Further centralization of PD is likely to decrease mortality further, especially in the elderly.
Copyright © 2012 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.