Objective: The authors examined the effect of hospital and surgeon volume on perioperative mortality rates after pancreatic resection for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Methods: Discharge abstracts from 1972 patients who had undergone pancreaticoduodenectomy or total pancreatectomy for malignancy in New York State between 1984 and 1991 were obtained from the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between hospital and surgeon experience to perioperative outcome.
Results: More than 75% of patients underwent resection at minimal-volume (fewer than 10 cases) or low-volume (10-50 cases) centers (defined as hospitals in which a minimal number of resections were performed in a given year), and these hospitals represented 98% of the institutions treating peripancreatic cancer. The two high-volume hospitals (more than 81 cases) demonstrated a significantly lower perioperative mortality rate (4.0%) compared with the minimal- (21.8%) and low-volume (12.3%) hospitals (p < 0.001). The perioperative mortality rate was 15.5% for low-volume (fewer than 9 cases) surgeons (defined as surgeons who had performed a minimal number of resections in any hospital in a given year) (n = 687) compared with 4.7% for high-volume (more than 41 cases) pancreatic surgeons (n = 4) (p < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that perioperative death is significantly (p < 0.05) related to hospital volume, but the surgeon's experience is not significantly related to perioperative deaths when hospital volume is controlled.
Conclusions: These data support a defined minimum hospital experience for elective pancreatectomy for malignancy to minimize perioperative deaths.