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The impact of complications on costs of major surgical procedures: a cost analysis of 1200 patients


Vonlanthen, R; Slankamenac, K; Breitenstein, S; Puhan, M A; Muller, M K; Hahnloser, D; Hauri, D; Graf, R; Clavien, P A (2011). The impact of complications on costs of major surgical procedures: a cost analysis of 1200 patients. Annals of Surgery, 254(6):907-913.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of postoperative complications on full in-hospital costs per case.
BACKGROUND: Rising expenses for complex medical procedures combined with constrained resources represent a major challenge. The severity of postoperative complications reflects surgical outcomes. The magnitude of the cost created by negative outcomes is unclear.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Morbidity of 1200 consecutive patients undergoing major surgery from 2005 to 2008 in a tertiary, high-volume center was assessed by a validated, complication score system. Full in-hospital costs were collected for each patient. Statistical analysis was performed using a multivariate linear regression model adjusted for potential confounders.
RESULTS: This study population included 393 complex liver/bile duct surgeries, 110 major pancreas operations, 389 colon resections, and 308 Roux-en-Y gastric bypasses. The overall 30-day mortality rate was 1.8%, whereas morbidity was 53.8%. Patients with an uneventful course had mean costs per case of USD 27,946 (SD USD 15,106). Costs increased dramatically with the severity of postoperative complications and reached the mean costs of USD 159,345 (SD USD 151,191) for grade IV complications. This increase in costs, up to 5 times the cost of a similar operation without complications, was observed for all types of investigated procedures, although the magnitude of the increase varied, with the highest costs in patients undergoing pancreas surgery.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the dramatic impact of postoperative complications on full in-hospital costs per case and that complications are the strongest indicator of costs. Furthermore, the study highlights a relevant savings capacity for major surgical procedures, and supports all efforts to lower negative events in the postoperative course.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of postoperative complications on full in-hospital costs per case.
BACKGROUND: Rising expenses for complex medical procedures combined with constrained resources represent a major challenge. The severity of postoperative complications reflects surgical outcomes. The magnitude of the cost created by negative outcomes is unclear.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Morbidity of 1200 consecutive patients undergoing major surgery from 2005 to 2008 in a tertiary, high-volume center was assessed by a validated, complication score system. Full in-hospital costs were collected for each patient. Statistical analysis was performed using a multivariate linear regression model adjusted for potential confounders.
RESULTS: This study population included 393 complex liver/bile duct surgeries, 110 major pancreas operations, 389 colon resections, and 308 Roux-en-Y gastric bypasses. The overall 30-day mortality rate was 1.8%, whereas morbidity was 53.8%. Patients with an uneventful course had mean costs per case of USD 27,946 (SD USD 15,106). Costs increased dramatically with the severity of postoperative complications and reached the mean costs of USD 159,345 (SD USD 151,191) for grade IV complications. This increase in costs, up to 5 times the cost of a similar operation without complications, was observed for all types of investigated procedures, although the magnitude of the increase varied, with the highest costs in patients undergoing pancreas surgery.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the dramatic impact of postoperative complications on full in-hospital costs per case and that complications are the strongest indicator of costs. Furthermore, the study highlights a relevant savings capacity for major surgical procedures, and supports all efforts to lower negative events in the postoperative course.

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93 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Visceral and Transplantation Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic and Policlinic for Internal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:03 Mar 2012 16:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:29
Publisher:Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins
ISSN:0003-4932
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1097/SLA.0b013e31821d4a43
PubMed ID:21562405

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