Relationship Between Provider Volume and Outcomes For Orthotopic Liver Transplantation
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- Scarborough, J.E., Pietrobon, R., Tuttle-Newhall, J.E. et al. J Gastrointest Surg (2008) 12: 1527. doi:10.1007/s11605-008-0589-5
Recent data suggests that the previously demonstrable relationship between hospital volume and outcomes for liver transplant procedures may no longer exist. Furthermore, to our knowledge, no study has been published examining whether individual surgeon volume is associated with outcomes in liver transplantation.
Materials and methods
The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database was used to obtain early clinical outcome and resource utilization data for liver transplant procedures performed in the USA from 1988 through 2003. The relationship between surgeon and hospital volume and early clinical outcomes was analyzed with and without adjustment for certain confounding variables such as patient age and presence of co-morbid disease.
The in-hospital mortality rate, major postoperative complication rate, and length of hospital stay after liver transplantation did not differ significantly based on hospital procedural volume. These outcome variables did, however, exhibit a statistically significant inverse relationship with individual surgeon volume of liver transplant procedures. A significant relationship between procedure volume and outcomes for liver transplantation cannot be demonstrated at the level of transplant center, but does appear to exist at the level of the individual transplant center.
Minimal volume requirements for individual liver transplant surgeons may be justified, pending validation of this volume–outcomes relationship using a clinical data source.