Centralization and the relationship between volume and outcome in knee arthroplasty procedures

Australian Safety and Efficacy Register of New Interventional Procedures-Surgical, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Adelaide, Australia.
ANZ Journal of Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.12). 04/2010; 80(4):234-41. DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2010.05243.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Centralization aims to reduce adverse patient outcomes by concentrating complex surgical procedures in specified hospitals.
This review assessed the efficacy of centralization for knee arthroplasty by examining the relationship between hospital and surgeon volume and patient outcomes.
The systematic review identified studies using multiple databases, including Medline and Embase. Two independent researchers ensured studies met the inclusion criteria. Morbidity, mortality, length of stay, financial outcomes and statistical rigour were examined. Correlations between volume and outcome were reported.
Twelve primary knee arthroplasty studies examined hospital volume, which was significantly associated with decreased morbidity (five of seven studies), mortality (two of five studies) and length of stay (two of three studies). Three primary knee arthroplasty studies examined surgeon volume, which was significantly associated with decreased morbidity (two of three studies), mortality (zero of two studies) and length of stay (one of one study). Two revision knee arthroplasty studies examined hospital volume. One study examined but did not test for significance between hospital volume and patient morbidity; both studies examined volume and patient mortality reporting inconclusive results; and one study reported no significant association between volume and length of stay. None of the revision knee arthroplasty studies examined surgeon volume.
Significant associations between increased hospital and surgeon volume and improved patient outcomes were reported. However, when these results were separated by arthroplasty type, the association appeared tenuous. Judgements regarding centralization of knee arthroplasty should be made with caution until further evidence is published.

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