Surgical specialization and operative mortality in hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) surgery

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Surgery

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Aged; Analysis of Variance; Biliary Tract Surgical Procedures; Confidence Intervals; Digestive System Surgical Procedures; Female; Health Care Surveys; Hepatectomy; Hospital Mortality; Humans; Logistic Models; Male; Middle Aged; Odds Ratio; Organ Transplantation; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Pancreatectomy; Physician's Practice Patterns; Probability; *Quality Indicators, Health Care; Registries; Retrospective Studies; Risk Assessment; Specialties, Surgical; Treatment Outcome; United States




INTRODUCTION: Surgeon specialization has been shown to result in improved outcomes but may not be the sole measure of surgical quality in hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) surgery. We attempted to determine which factors predominate in optimal patient outcomes between volume, surgeon, and hospital resources.

METHODS: All non-transplant pancreatic (n = 7195) and liver operations (n = 4809) from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) were examined from 1998-2005. Surgeons and hospitals were divided into two groups, transplant (TX) or non-transplant (non-TX), using the unique surgeon and hospital identifier of NIS. A logistic regression model examined the relationship between factors while accounting for patient and hospital factors.

RESULTS: We identified 4,355 primary surgeons (165 TX, 4,190 non-TX) who performed HPB surgery in 675 hospitals across 12 different states. Non-TX surgeons performed the majority of pancreatic (97%) and liver procedures (81%). There was no difference in mortality after HPB surgery depending on surgeon specialty (p = 0.59). Factors for inpatient death after HPB surgery included increasing age, male gender, and public insurance (p < 0.05). In addition, surgery performed at a TX center had a 21% lower odds of perioperative mortality.

DISCUSSION: Non-TX surgeons performed the majority of pancreatic and liver surgery in the US. Hospital factors like support of transplantation but not surgical specialty, appeared to impact operative mortality. Future regulatory benchmarks should consider these types of center-based facilities and resources to assess patient outcomes.

DOI of Published Version



J Gastrointest Surg. 2008 Sep;12(9):1534-9. Epub 2008 Jul 9. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of gastrointestinal surgery : official journal of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract

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Link to Article in PubMed

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