Improving pancreas surgery over time: Performance factors related to transition of care and patient volume
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Background: Pancreas surgery has evolved with better diagnostic imaging, changing indications, and improved patient selection. Outside high-volume tertiary centers, the documented effect of evolution in care and volumes are limited. Thus, we aimed to review indications and outcomes in pancreas surgery during the transition from community-based hospital to a university hospital.
Methods: All pancreatic surgeries performed between 1986 and 2012 within a well-defined Norwegian population were identified from the hospital's database. Indications and postoperative outcomes, including mortality, were investigated.
Results: Of the 219 included patients (54% males; median age, 64 years), 150 (69%) underwent pancreatoduodenectomy; 55 (25%), distal resection; and 5 (2%), enucleation. The annual number of operations increased during the study period (from <10/yr to >20/yr). Most patients (169; 77%) underwent surgery for suspected malignancy. The 30-day mortality decreased significantly over time among patients treated for pancreatic cancer (from 16.1% to 3.5%; p = 0.012). Over time, significant reductions in median hospitalization time (19 versus 12 days; p < 0.001), re-operation rate (37.1% versus 8.4%; p < 0.001), and median ICU stay (3 versus 0 days; p < 0.001) were observed.
Conclusion: The transition to university hospital and increase in volume has led to significant improvements in several performance metrics and reduced postoperative mortality. We believe improved perioperative management and focused, multidisciplinary care-bundles to be of importance.