Relationship between Annualized Case Volume and Mortality in Sepsis: A Dose–Response Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background:

The relationship between annualized case volume and mortality in patients with sepsis is not fully understood. The authors performed a dose–response meta-analysis to assess the effect of annualized case volume on mortality among patients with sepsis in the intensive care unit, emergency department, or hospital, hypothesizing that higher annualized case volume may lead to lower mortality.

Methods:

The authors searched PubMed and Embase through July 2015 to identify observational studies that examined the relationship between annualized case volume and mortality in sepsis. The predefined outcome was mortality. Odds ratios with 95% CIs were pooled using a random-effects model.

Results:

Ten studies involving 3,495,921 participants and 834,009 deaths were included. The pooled estimate suggested that annualized case volume was inversely associated with mortality (odds ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.65 to 0.89; P = 0.001), with high heterogeneity (I2 = 96.6%). The relationship was consistent in most subgroup analyses and robust in sensitivity analysis. Dose–response analysis identified a nonlinear relationship between annualized case volume and mortality (P for nonlinearity less than 0.001).

Conclusions:

This meta-analysis confirmed the study hypothesis and provided strong evidence for an inverse and a nonlinear dose–response relationship between annualized case volume and mortality in patients with sepsis. Variations in cutoff values of category for annualized case volume across studies may mainly result in the overall heterogeneity. Future studies should uncover the mechanism of volume–mortality relationship and standardize the cutoff values of category for annualized case volume in patients with sepsis.

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