Current literature has identified textbook outcome (TO) as a quality metric after cancer surgery. We studied whether TO after pancreatic resection has a stronger association with long-term survival than individual hospital case volume.
Patients undergoing surgery for pancreatic adenocarcinoma from 2010 to 2015 were identified from the National Cancer Database. Hospitals were stratified by volume (low less than 6, medium 6 to 19, and high 20 cases or more per year), and overall survival data were abstracted. We defined TO as adequate lymph node count, negative margins, length of stay less than the 75th percentile, appropriate systemic therapy, timely systemic therapy, and without a mortality event or readmission within 30 days. The association of TO and case volume was assessed using a multivariable Cox regression model for survival.
Overall, 7270 patients underwent surgery, with 30.7%, 48.7%, and 20.6% performed at low-, medium-, and high-volume hospitals, respectively. Patients treated at low-volume hospitals were more likely to be Black, be uninsured or on Medicaid, have higher Charlson comorbidity scores, and be less likely to achieve TO (23.4% TO achievement vs 37.5% achievement at high-volume hospitals). However, high hospital volume was no longer associated with overall survival once TO was added to the multivariable model stratified by volume status. Achievement of TO corresponded to a 31% decrease in mortality (hazard ratio 0.69; p < 0.001), independent of hospital volume.
Improved long-term survival after pancreatic resection was associated with TO rather than high hospital volume. Quality improvement efforts focused on TO criteria have the potential to improve outcomes irrespective of case volume.