Background: Surgery has become an important tool for cancer treatment, requiring many available resources and a good organization of the surgery service. The aim of this study was to provide robust data for policymakers on the impact of hospital volume on survival, taking into account different sources of information.
Methods: We performed a retrospective study in a cohort of patients with gastric cancer submitted to partial or total gastrectomy. Data for the analysis were retrieved from regional administrative databases, the regional death registry, and histological reports. The main outcome measures were operative mortality and long-term survival. The associations between hospital volume and risk of mortality were calculated using a Cox multiple regression analysis.
Results: The estimated relationship between operative mortality and volume was not statistically significant. Conversely, high-volume hospitals had an increased likelihood of long-term survival compared to low-volume institutions: hazard ratio 0.79 (95 % confidence interval, 0.66–0.94, p = 0.01). The percentage variation between crude and adjusted HRs using only administrative data or administrative and histological data was very small. However, the combined use of administrative and clinical data provided a more accurate model for estimating risk-adjusted mortality.
Conclusions: A positive association between hospital volume and survival was evident for long-term outcome after adjusting for patient and tumor confounding. Moreover, the patient’s choice of hospital was not guided by specific care pathways or screening programs, and prognosis was not poorer for patients in high-volume hospitals. These findings suggest that there is leeway for improving access to surgery for gastric cancer patients.
- Gastric cancer
- Hospital volume
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research