Hospital experience predicts outcomes after high-risk geriatric surgery

Surgery. 2020 Feb;167(2):468-474. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2019.07.026. Epub 2019 Sep 10.


Background: Geriatric patients require specialized perioperative care, yet the impact of geriatric surgery proportion (a measure of experience) and geriatric surgery volume, on clinical outcomes is unknown. This study analyzes the association between proportion and volume and clinical outcomes after high-risk geriatric surgery.

Methods: Using the 2014 National Inpatient Sample, hospital encounters for older adults (≥65 years) undergoing high-risk geriatric surgery were identified. Geriatric surgery volume was defined as a hospital's annual volume of geriatric patients undergoing high-risk geriatric surgery. Geriatric surgery proportion was calculated as volume divided by the sum of high-risk surgeries in all ages. Hierarchical multivariable regression models identified predictors of inpatient mortality, postoperative length of stay, and discharge to nursing facility.

Results: There were an estimated 514,950 hospital encounters for older adults undergoing high-risk geriatric surgery from 3,115 hospitals. Mean proportion was 0.53 ± 0.19; median volume was 60 cases per year, ranging from 5 to 3,235. After adjustment, comparing the 90th to 10th percentiles, higher proportion was associated with decreased mortality (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 0.81 [0.73-0.88]; P < .001) and shorter postoperative length of stay (-4.44% (-5.49 to -3.39%); P < .0001). Higher volume was not associated with mortality but was associated with longer length of stay (7.76% [6.75-8.77%]; P < .0001) and decreased discharge to nursing facility (0.87 [0.79-0.95]; P= .003).

Conclusion: Treatment of geriatric patients at hospitals with the highest proportion of high-risk geriatric surgery, or the most experience, is associated with improved outcomes. High-proportion hospitals should be examined to understand the mechanisms by which better quality geriatric surgical care is achieved, while lower-proportion hospitals may be targets for quality improvement efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Services for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, High-Volume / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / mortality*
  • United States