IMPORTANCE It is not known whether hospital and surgeon volumes have an association with readmission among patients undergoing pancreatoduodenectomy. OBJECTIVE To evaluate patient-, surgeon-, and hospital-level factors associated with readmission. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Retrospective cohort study using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare data with cases diagnosed from January 1, 1998, to December 31, 2005, and followed up until December 2007. Population-based cancer registry data were linked to Medicare data for the corresponding patients. A total of 1488 unique individuals who underwent a pancreatoduodenectomy were identified. INTERVENTIONS Undergoing pancreatoduodenectomy at hospitals classified by volume of pancreatoduodenectomy procedures performed at the facility were either very-low, low, medium, or high volume. Undergoing pancreatoduodenectomy by surgeons classified by volume of pancreatoduodenectomy procedures performed by the surgeon were either very-low, low, medium, or high volume. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES In-hospital morbidity, mortality, and 30-day readmission were examined. RESULTS The median age was 74 years, and 1436 patients (96.5%) had a least 1 medical comorbidity. Patients were treated by 575 distinct surgeons at 298 distinct hospitals. Length of stay was longest (median, 17 days) and 90-day mortality highest (17.2%) at very-low-volume hospitals (P <.001). Among all pancreatoduodenectomy patients, 292 (21.3%) were readmitted within 30 days of discharge. There was no effect of surgeon volume and a modest effect of hospital volume (odds ratio for highest-vs lowest-volume quartiles, 1.85; 95%CI, 1.22-2.80; P =.02). The presence of significant preoperative medical comorbidities was associated with an increased risk for hospital readmission after pancreatoduodenectomy. A comorbidity score greater than 13 had a pronounced effect on the chance of readmission following pancreatoduodenectomy (odds ratio, 2.06; 95%CI, 1.56-2.71; P <.001). The source of variation in readmission was primarily attributable to patient-related factors (95.4%), while hospital factors accounted for 4.3%of the variability and physician factors for only 0.3%. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Nearly 1 in 5 patients are readmitted following pancreatoduodenectomy. While variation in readmission is, in part, attributable to differences among hospitals, the largest share of variation was found at the patient level.
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