In many Western countries a "minimum volume rule" policy has been adopted as a quality measure for complex surgical procedures. In Italy, the National Transplant Centre set the minimum number of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) procedures/y at 25/center. OLT procedures performed in a single center for a reasonably large period may be treated as a time series to evaluate trend, seasonal cycles, and nonsystematic fluctuations. Between January 1, 1987 and December 31, 2006, we performed 563 cadaveric donor OLTs to adult recipients. During 2007, there were another 28 procedures. The greatest numbers of OLTs/y were performed in 2001 (n = 51), 2005 (n = 50), and 2004 (n = 49). A time series analysis performed using R Statistical Software (Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria), a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics, showed an incremental trend after exponential smoothing as well as after seasonal decomposition. The predicted OLT/mo for 2007 calculated with the Holt-Winters exponential smoothing applied to the previous period 1987-2006 helped to identify the months where there was a major difference between predicted and performed procedures. The time series approach may be helpful to establish a minimum volume/y at a single-center level.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - May 2009|
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