Surgeon Age in Relation to Prognosis After Esophageal Cancer Resection

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Abstract

Objective:

It was hypothesized that patient survival improves with increasing surgeon age up to an age where it then decreases.

Background:

Experience, physical and psychological abilities required for esophagectomy may change with increasing surgeon age.

Methods:

This population-based cohort study included all patients having undergone esophagectomy for esophageal cancer in Sweden in 1987 to 2010, with follow-up until 2016. Risk-adjusted cumulative sum (RA-CUSUM) analysis was performed to estimate the relation between surgeon age and 90-day mortality, all-cause, and disease-specific 5-year mortality. Change-points in surgeon age identified by the RA-CUSUM were then analyzed in relation to mortality using multivariable Cox regression, providing hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for age, sex, comorbidity, tumor stage, tumor histology, neoadjuvant therapy, surgeon volume, and calendar year.

Results:

Among 139 surgeons performing 1761 esophagectomies, RA-CUSUM analysis of 90-day mortality showed change-points at 43 years (downward deflection) and at 56 years (upward deflection). Both all-cause and disease-specific 5-year mortality had corresponding change-points at 52 years and 56 years. Compared with surgeon age 52 to 55 years, surgeon age ≤51 years was associated with increased 90-day mortality (HR = 1.71, 95% CI 1.01–2.90) and 5-year all-cause mortality (HR = 1.21, 95% CI 1.02–1.43), and surgeon age ≥56 years showed increased 90-day mortality (HR = 2.38, 95% CI 1.38–4.13), 5-year all-cause mortality (HR = 1.29, 95% CI 1.08–1.55), and disease-specific 5-year mortality (HR = 1.18, 95% CI 1.01–1.42).

Conclusions:

Surgeon age ≤51 and ≥56 years may increase short- and long-term mortality after esophagectomy for cancer.

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