Variations in colon and rectal surgical mortality
PURPOSE: This study was designed to examine variations in operative mortality among surgical specialists who perform colorectal surgery. METHODS: Mortality rates were compared between six board-certified colorectal surgeons and 33 other institutional surgeons using comparable colorectal procedure codes and a validated database indicating patient severity of illness. Thirty-five ICD-9-CM procedure codes were used to identify 2,805 patients who underwent colorectal surgery as their principal procedure between July 1986 and April 1994. Atlas™, a state-legislated outcome database, was used by the hospital's Quality Assurance Department to rank the Admission Severity Group (ASG) of 1,753 patients from January 1989 to April 1994 (higher ASG, 0 to 4, indicates increasing medical instability). RESULTS: Colorectal surgeons had an eight-year mean in-hospital mortality rate of 1.4 percent compared with 7.3 percent by other institutional surgeons (P=0.0001). There was a significantly lower mortality rate for colorectal surgeons compared with other institutional surgeons in ASG 2 (0.8 and 3.8 percent, respectively; P=0.026) and ASG 3 (5.7 and 16.4 percent, respectively; P=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Board-certified colorectal surgeons had a lower in-hospital mortality rate than other institutional surgeons as patients' severity of illness increased.
Key wordsColon and rectal surgery Mortality
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