Craniosynostosis Surgery: Does Hospital Case Volume Impact Outcomes or Cost?

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Abstract

Background:

The relationships between hospital/surgeon characteristics and operative outcomes and cost are being scrutinized increasingly. In patients with craniosynostosis specifically, the relationship between hospital volume and outcomes has yet to be characterized.

Methods:

Subjects undergoing craniosynostosis surgery between 2004 and 2015 were identified in the Pediatric Health Information System. Outcomes were compared between two exposure groups, those undergoing treatment at a high-volume institution (>40 cases per year), and those undergoing treatment at a low-volume institution (40 cases per year). Primary outcomes were any complication, prolonged length of stay, and increased total cost.

Results:

Over 13,000 patients (n = 13,112) from 49 institutions met inclusion criteria. In multivariate regression analyses, subjects treated in high-volume centers were less likely to experience any complication (OR, 0.764; p < 0.001), were less likely to have an extended length of stay (OR, 0.624; p < 0.001), and were less likely to have increased total cost (OR, 0.596; p < 0.001). Subjects undergoing strip craniectomy in high-volume centers were also less likely to have any complication (OR, 0.708; p = 0.018) or increased total cost (OR, 0.51; p < 0.001). Subjects undergoing midvault reconstruction in high-volume centers were less likely to experience any complications (OR, 0.696; p = 0.002), have an extended length of stay (OR, 0.542; p < 0.001), or have increased total cost (OR, 0.495; p < 0.001).

Conclusion:

In hospitals performing a high volume of craniosynostosis surgery, subjects had significantly decreased odds of experiencing a complication, prolonged length of stay, or increased total cost compared with those undergoing treatment in low-volume institutions.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, III.

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