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Merkow RP, Bilimoria KY, McCarter MD, Phillips JD, DeCamp MM, Sherman KL, Ko CY, Bentrem DJ. Short-term outcomes after esophagectomy at 164 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program hospitals: effect of operative approach and hospital-level variation. Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960). 2012 Nov 1; 147(11):1009-16.
HYPOTHESIS: When assessing the effect of operative approach on outcomes, it may be less relevant whether a transhiatal or an Ivor Lewis esophagectomy was performed and may be more important to focus on patient selection and the quality of the hospital performing the operation. DESIGN: Observational study. SETTING: Hospitals participating in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. PATIENTS: Individuals undergoing esophagectomy were identified from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2010. The following 4 groups were created based on operative approach: transhiatal, Ivor Lewis, 3-field, and any approach with an intestinal conduit. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Risk-adjusted 30-day outcomes and hospital-level variation in performance. RESULTS: At 164 hospitals, 1738 patients underwent an esophageal resection: 710 (40.9%) were transhiatal, 497 (28.6%) were Ivor Lewis, 361 (20.8%) were 3-field, and 170 (9.8%) were intestinal conduits. Compared with the transhiatal approach, Ivor Lewis esophagectomy was not associated with increased risk for postoperative complications; however, 3-field esophagectomy was associated with increased likelihood of postoperative pneumonia (odds ratio [OR], 1.88; 95% CI, 1.28-2.77) and prolonged ventilation exceeding 48 hours (OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.16-2.42). Intestinal conduit use was associated with increased 30-day mortality (OR, 2.65; 95% CI, 1.08-6.47), prolonged ventilation exceeding 48 hours (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.01-2.54), and return to the operating room for any indication (OR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.16-2.96). Patient characteristics were the strongest predictive factors for 30-day mortality and serious morbidity. After case-mix adjustment, hospital performance varied by 161% for 30-day mortality and by 84% for serious morbidity. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with transhiatal dissection, Ivor Lewis esophagectomy did not result in worse postoperative complications. After controlling for case-mix, hospital performance varied widely for all outcomes assessed, indicating that reductions in short-term outcomes will likely result from expanding other aspects of hospital quality beyond a focus on specific technical maneuvers.