Variation in use of open and laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy and associated outcome metrics in a universal health care system
Methods - Data on all patients undergoing distal pancreatectomy from the Norwegian Patient Register over a 5-year period. Age- and gender-adjusted population-based resection rates (adj. per million/yr) for distal pancreatectomy were analysed across 4 regions and outcomes related to splenic salvage rate, hospital stay, reoperation, readmissions and 90-day mortality risk between regions. Risk is reported as odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (c.i.).
Results - Regional difference exist in terms of absolute numbers, with the majority of procedures done in one region (n = 331; 59.7%). Regional variation persisted for age- and gender-adjusted population-rates, with highest rate at 23.8/million/yr and lowest rate at 13.5/mill/yr (for a 176% relative difference; or an absolute difference of +10.3 resections/million/yr). Overall, a lapDP instead of an open DP was 3.5 times more likely in SouthEast compared to all other regions combined (lapDP rate: 83% vrs 24%, respectively; OR 15.4, 95% c.i. 10.1–23.5; P < 0.001). The splenic salvage rate was lower in SouthEast (19.9%) compared to all other regions (average 26.5%; highest in Central-region at 37.0%; P = 0.010 for trend). Controlled for other factors in multivariate regression, ‘region’ of surgery remained significantly associated with laparoscopic access.
Conclusion - Despite a universal health care system, considerable variation exists in resection rates, use of laparoscopy and splenic salvage rates across regions.