Studies demonstrate an inverse relation between volumes of surgical procedures performed in hospitals and related mortality.

Patients undergoing high risk surgical procedures can significantly reduce their risk of post operative death by selecting a high-volume provider versus a low volume provider. A study covering mortality associated with six different types of cardiovascular procedures and eight types of major cancer resections between 1994 and 1999 (total number of procedures, 2.5 million) demonstrated a significant relationship between mortality (in-hospital or with- in 30 day mortality) and provider surgical volume (total number of procedures performed per year) where mortality decreased as volume increased for all 14 types of procedures. Absolute differences in adjusted mortality rates between very-low-volume hospitals and very-high-volume hospitals ranged from over 12 percent (for pancreatic resection: 16.3 % vs. 3.8 %) to only 0.2 percent (for carotid endarterectomy: 1.7 % vs. 1.5 %).

Citation

Birkmeyer, J. D., et. al. (2002). Trends in Hospital Volume and Operative Mortality for High-Risk Surgery. The New England Journal of Medicine, 364(15), 1128-1137.

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