Background: Prophylactic drainage following hepatectomy is frequently performed despite evidence that drainage is unnecessary. It is unknown to what extent drain use is influenced by hospital practice patterns. The objectives of this study were to identify factors associated with the use of prophylactic drains following hepatectomy and assess hospital variation in drain use. Methods: Retrospective cohort study of patients following hepatectomy without concomitant bowel resection or biliary reconstruction from the ACS NSQIP Hepatectomy Targeted Dataset. Factors associated with the use of prophylactic drains were identified using multivariable logistic regression and hospital-level variation in drain use was assessed. Results: Analysis included 10,530 patients at 130 hospitals. Overall, 42.3% of patients had a prophylactic drain placed following hepatectomy. Patients were more likely to receive prophylactic drains if they were ≥65 years old (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.34, 95%CI: 1.16–1.56), underwent major hepatectomy (aOR: 1.42, 95%CI 1.15–1.74), or had an open resection (aOR 1.94, 95%CI 1.49–2.53). There was notable hospital variability in drain use (range: 0%–100% of patients), and 77.5% of measured variation was at the hospital level. Conclusion: Prophylactic drains are commonly placed in both major and minor hepatectomy. Hospital-specific patterns appear to be a major driver and represent a target for improvement.
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