R C Thirlby

Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, United States

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Publications (67)343.36 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: Our goal was to perform a comparative effectiveness study of intravenous (IV)-only versus IV + enteral contrast in computed tomographic (CT) scans performed for patients undergoing appendectomy across a diverse group of hospitals. Background: Small randomized trials from tertiary centers suggest that en- teral contrast does not improve diagnostic performance of CT for suspected appendicitis, but generalizability has not been demonstrated. Eliminating en- teral contrast may improve efficiency, patient comfort, and safety. Methods: We analyzed data for adult patients who underwent nonelective appendectomy at 56 hospitals over a 2-year period. Data were obtained directly from patient charts by trained abstractors. Multivariate logistic regression was utilized to adjust for potential confounding. The main outcome measure was concordance between final radiology interpretation and final pathology report. Results: A total of 9047 adults underwent appendectomy and 8089 (89.4%) underwent CT, 54.1% of these with IV contrast only and 28.5% with IV + enteral contrast. Pathology findings correlated with radiographic findings in 90.0% of patients who received IV + enteral contrast and 90.4% of patients scanned with IV contrast alone. Hospitals were categorized as rural or ur- ban and by their teaching status. Regardless of hospital type, there was no difference in concordance between IV-only and IV + enteral contrast. After adjusting for age, sex, comorbid conditions, weight, hospital type, and perfo- ration, odds ratio of concordance for IV + enteral contrast versus IV contrast alone was 0.95 (95% CI: 0.72–1.25). Conclusions: Enteral contrast does not improve CT evaluation of appendicitis in patients undergoing appendectomy. These broadly generalizable results from a diverse group of hospitals suggest that enteral contrast can be eliminated in CT scans for suspected appendicitis.
    Annals of Surgery 11/2013; · 6.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Laparoscopic ileocecectomy is advocated as the ideal surgical approach for ileocecal Crohn's disease. Our experience suggests that equivalent outcomes are accomplished through a small right lower quadrant (RLQ) transverse incision in this patient population. We conducted a retrospective chart review of 39 patients undergoing ileocectomy for Crohn's disease using a RLQ transverse incision between 1991 and 2009. The mean operative time was 99 minutes with a mean length of hospital stay of 4.2 days and mean duration until return of bowel function of 2.9 days. There were no deaths or major complications. Long-term follow-up revealed four patients (13%) who required hospitalization for small bowel obstructions, one patient (3%) developed an incisional hernia, and no patients required an ileostomy. Ileocecectomy performed for Crohn's disease using a RLQ transverse incision yielded similar hospital lengths of stay and time to return of bowel function as those published for laparoscopic resection. This approach may result in shorter operative times when compared with the inexperienced surgeon performing a laparoscopic resection. Long-term follow-up revealed the risk for future RLQ ileostomy is low and the development of hernias or bowel obstruction is unlikely.
    The American surgeon 03/2013; 79(3):279-83. · 0.92 Impact Factor
  • Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases 01/2013; 9(6):926–935. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Surgical site infections (SSI) are an important source of morbidity and mortality. Chlorhexidine in isopropyl alcohol is effective in preventing central venous-catheter associated infections, but its effectiveness in reducing SSI in clean-contaminated procedures is uncertain. Surgical studies to date have had contradictory results. We aimed to further evaluate the relationship of commonly used antiseptic agents and SSI, and to determine if isopropyl alcohol had a unique effect. Study Design We performed a prospective cohort analysis to evaluate the relationship of commonly used skin antiseptic agents and SSI for patients undergoing mostly clean-contaminated surgery from January 2011 through June 2012. Multivariate regression modeling predicted expected rates of SSI. Risk adjusted event rates (RAERs) of SSI were compared across groups using proportionality testing. Results Among 7,669 patients the rate of SSI was 4.6%. The RAERs were 0.85 (p=0.28) for chlorhexidine (CHG), 1.10 (p=0.06) for chlorhexidine in isopropyl alcohol (CHG+IPA), 0.98 (p=0.96) for povidone-iodine (PVI) and 0.93 (p=0.51) for iodine-povacrylex in isopropyl alcohol (IPC+IPA). The RAERs were 0.91 (p=0.39) for the non-IPA group and 1.10 (p=0.07) for the IPA group. Among elective colorectal patients the RAERs were 0.90 (p=0.48) for CHG, 1.04 (p=0.67) for CHG+IPA, 1.04 (p=0.85) for PVI and 1.00 (p=0.99) for IPC+IPA. Conclusions For clean-contaminated surgical cases, this large-scale state cohort study does not demonstrate superiority of any commonly-used skin antiseptic agent in reducing the risk of SSI, nor does it find any unique effect of isopropyl alcohol. These results do not support the use of more expensive skin preparation agents.
    Journal of the American College of Surgeons 01/2013; · 4.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interview process is a pivotal, differentiating component of the residency match. Our bias is toward a working interview, producing better fulfillment of the needs of both parties, and a more informed match selection for the candidates and program. We describe a "candidate-centered" approach for integrating applicant interviews into our daily work schedule. Applicants are informed upon accepting the interview of the working interview model. Our program offers 33 interview days over a 12-week period. A maximum of 5 applicants are hosted per day. Applicants are assigned to 1 of our general, thoracic, vascular, or plastic surgery teams. The interview day begins with the applicant changing into scrubs, attending a morning conference, and taking part in a program overview by a Chief Resident. Applicants join their host team where 4-8 hours are spent observing the operative team, on rounds and sharing lunch. The faculty and senior residents are responsible for interviewing and evaluating applicants though the Electronic Residency Application Service. A total of 13 surgeons are involved in the interview process resulting in broad-based evaluations. Each surgeon interviewed between 3 and 12 applicants. Faculty rate this interview approach highly because it allows them to maintain a rigorous operative schedule while interacting with applicants. Current residents are engaged in welcoming applicants to view the program. Faculty and residents believe cooperating in a real world manner aids their assessment of the applicant. Applicants routinely provide positive feedback, relaying this approach is informative, transparent, and should be the "standard." Applicants believe they are presented a realistic view of the program. Ultimately, this candidate-centered process may be attributable to our resident cohort who exhibit high satisfaction, excellent resident morale, and very low dropout rate. We present a candidate-centered, working interview approach used in the selection of general surgery residents. While it may require more resources than the traditional approach, it harbors advantages for the applicant and the program.
    11/2012; 69(6):802-6. · 1.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:: Studies suggest that computed tomography and ultrasonography can effectively diagnose and rule out appendicitis, safely reducing negative appendectomies (NAs); however, some within the surgical community remain reluctant to add imaging to clinical evaluation of patients with suspected appendicitis. The Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP) is a physician-led quality initiative that monitors performance by benchmarking processes of care and outcomes. Since 2006, accurate diagnosis of appendicitis has been a priority for SCOAP. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between imaging and NA in the general community. METHODS:: Data were collected prospectively for consecutive appendectomy patients (age > 15 years) at nearly 60 hospitals. SCOAP data are obtained directly from clinical records, including radiological, operative, and pathological reports. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the association between imaging and NA. Tests for trends over time were also conducted. RESULTS:: Among 19,327 patients (47.9% female) who underwent appendectomy, 5.4% had NA. Among patients who were imaged, frequency of NA was 4.5%, whereas among those who were not imaged, it was 15.4% (P < 0.001). This association was consistent for men (3% vs 10%, P < 0.001) and for women of reproductive age (6.9% vs 24.7%, P < 0.001). In a multivariate model adjusted for age, sex, and white blood cell count, odds of NA for patients not imaged were 3.7 times the odds for those who received imaging (95% CI: 3.0-4.4). Among SCOAP hospitals, use of imaging increased and NA decreased significantly over time; frequency of perforation was unchanged. CONCLUSIONS:: Patients who were not imaged during workup for suspected appendicitis had more than 3 times the odds of NA as those who were imaged. Routine imaging in the evaluation of patients suspected to have appendicitis can safely reduce unnecessary operations. Programs such as SCOAP improve care through peer-led, benchmarked practice change.
    Annals of surgery 09/2012; 256(4):586-594. · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Forkhead box P3 (FOXP3)+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical for controlling inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. There is a paradoxical increase of mucosal FOXP3+ T cells in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These FOXP3+ cells were recently shown to include interleukin (IL)-17A-producing cells in Crohn's disease, resembling Th17 cells implicated in autoimmune diseases. FOXP3 inhibits IL-17A production, but a naturally occurring splice variant of FOXP3 lacking exon 2 (Δexon2) cannot. We hypothesized that IBD patients preferentially express the Δexon2 variant of FOXP3 so the paradoxically increased mucosal Tregs in IBD could represent cells expressing only Δexon2. We used antibodies and primers that can distinguish between the full-length and Δexon2 splice variant of FOXP3 to evaluate expression of these isoforms in human intestinal tissue by immunohistochemistry and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), respectively. No difference in the expression pattern of Δexon2 relative to full-length FOXP3 was seen in ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease versus non-IBD controls. By immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry, we also did not find individual cells which expressed FOXP3 protein exclusively in the Δexon2 isoform in either IBD or control tissue. FOXP3+ mucosal CD4+ T cells from both IBD and control specimens were able to make IL-17A in vitro after phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) and ionomycin stimulation, but these cells did not preferentially express Δexon2. Our data do not support the hypothesis that selective expression of FOXP3 in the Δexon2 isoform accounts for the inability of copious FOXP3+ T cells to inhibit inflammation or IL-17 expression in IBD.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences 06/2012; 57(11):2846-55. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the adoption of laparoscopic colon surgery and assess its impact in the community at large. The Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP) is a quality improvement benchmarking initiative in the Northwest using medical record-based data. We evaluated the use of laparoscopy and a composite of adverse events (ie, death or clinical reintervention) for patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery at 48 hospitals from the 4th quarter of 2005 through 4th quarter of 2010. Of the 9,705 patients undergoing elective colorectal operations (mean age 60.6 ± 15.6 years; 55.2% women), 38.0% were performed laparoscopically (17.8% laparoscopic procedures converted to open). The use of laparoscopic procedures increased from 23.3% in 4th quarter of 2005 to 41.6% in 4th quarter of 2010 (trend during study period, p < 0.001). After adjustment (for age, sex, albumin levels, diabetes, body mass index, comorbidity index, cancer diagnosis, year, hospital bed size, and urban vs rural location), the risk of transfusions (odds ratio [OR] = 0.52; 95% CI, 0.39-0.7), wound infections (OR = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.34-0.61), and composite of adverse events (OR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.43-0.79) were all significantly lower with laparoscopy. Within those hospitals that had been in SCOAP since 2006, hospitals where laparoscopy was most commonly used also had a substantial increase in the volume of all types of colon surgery (202 cases per hospital in 2010 from 112 cases per hospital in 2006, an 80.4% increase) and, in particular, the number of resections for noncancer diagnoses and right-sided pathology. The use of laparoscopic colorectal resection increased in the Northwest. Increased adoption of laparoscopic colectomies was associated with greater use of all types of colorectal surgery.
    Journal of the American College of Surgeons 04/2012; 214(6):909-18.e1. · 4.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effect of routine anastomotic leak testing (performed to screen for leaks) vs selective testing (performed to evaluate for a suspected leak in a higher-risk or technically difficult anastomosis) on outcomes in colorectal surgery because the value of provocative testing of colorectal anastomoses as a quality improvement metric has yet to be determined. Observational, prospectively designed cohort study. Data from Washington state's Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP). Patients undergoing elective left-sided colon or rectal resections at 40 SCOAP hospitals from October 1, 2005, to December 31, 2009. Use of leak testing, distinguishing procedures that were performed at hospitals where leak testing was selective (<90% use) or routine (≥ 90% use) in a given calendar quarter. Adjusted odds ratio of a composite adverse event (CAE) (unplanned postoperative intervention and/or in-hospital death) at routine testing hospitals. Among 3449 patients (mean [SD] age, 58.8 [14.8] years; 55.0% women), the CAE rate was 5.5%. Provocative leak testing increased (from 56% in the starting quarter to 76% in quarter 16) and overall rates of CAE decreased (from 7.0% in the starting quarter to 4.6% in quarter 16; both P ≤ .01) over time. Among patients at hospitals that performed routine leak testing, we found a reduction of more than 75% in the adjusted risk of CAEs (odds ratio, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.05-0.99). Routine leak testing of left-sided colorectal anastomoses appears to be associated with a reduced rate of CAEs within the SCOAP network and meets many of the criteria of a worthwhile quality improvement metric.
    Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960) 04/2012; 147(4):345-51. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative ileus is the main determinant of the length of hospital stay after colorectal surgery. Our objective was to analyze modifiable factors, including polyethylene glycol administration, associated with the return of bowel function. A retrospective review of all patients who underwent elective open partial colectomy from 2004 to 2006 at a single institution. The time to the first bowel movement with and without oral intake within 48 hours postoperatively was 76 hours versus 134 hours (P < .001); with and without polyethylene glycol administration it was 73 hours versus 94 hours (P = .001); and with and without frequent ambulation it was 78 hours versus 95 hours (P = .012). With postoperative nasogastric tube drainage, the time to the first bowel movement was 22 hours longer (P = .002). These data confirm previous findings supporting no nasogastric tube drainage, early feeding, and frequent ambulation after colorectal surgery. Additionally, our data suggest a strong association (P = .001) between the use of polyethylene glycol and the early return of bowel function.
    American journal of surgery 03/2012; 203(5):644-8. · 2.36 Impact Factor
  • Richard C Thirlby
    Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960) 03/2012; 147(3):234-5. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Data on balloon enteroscopy-assisted ERCP (BEA-ERCP) versus laparoscopy-assisted ERCP (LA-ERCP) in post-Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) patients are lacking. To compare BEA-ERCP with LA-ERCP in post-RYGB patients and to identify factors that predict therapeutic success with BEA-ERCP. Retrospective chart review. A single North American tertiary referral center. The review included 56 bariatric post-RYGB patients who underwent ERCP. BEA-ERCP or LA-ERCP. Cannulation rate, therapeutic success, hospital stay, complications, procedure duration, endoscopist time, and cost. A total of 32 patients underwent BEA-ERCP, and 24 underwent LA-ERCP. LA-ERCP was superior to BEA-ERCP in papilla identification (100% vs 72%, P = .005), cannulation rate (100% vs 59%, P < .001), and therapeutic success (100% vs 59%, P < .001). The total procedure time was shorter (P < .001) and endoscopist time was longer (P = .006) for BEA-ERCP. There was no difference in postprocedure hospital stay (P = .127) or complication rate (P = .392) between the 2 groups. In the BEA-ERCP group, in patients having a Roux limb + biliopancreatic (from ligament of Treitz to jejunojejunal anastomosis), a limb length less than 150 cm was associated with therapeutic success. Starting with BEA-ERCP and continuing with LA-ERCP after a failed BEA-ERCP saved $1015 compared with starting with LA-ERCP. Single center, retrospective study. In centers with expertise in deep enteroscopy and ERCP, post-RYGB patients with a Roux + ligament of Treitz to jejunojejunal anastomosis limb length less than 150 cm should first be offered deep enteroscopy-assisted ERCP. In patients with Roux + ligament of Treitz to jejunojejunal anastomosis (LTJJ) limb length 150 cm or longer, LA-ERCP should be the preferred approach because of the lack of need for a second procedure, equivalent morbidity and hospital stay, decreased endoscopist time, and decreased cost.
    Gastrointestinal endoscopy 01/2012; 75(4):748-56. · 6.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There are increasing efforts towards improving the quality and safety of surgical care while decreasing the costs. In Washington state, there has been a regional and unique approach to surgical quality improvement. The development of the Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP) was first described 5 years ago. SCOAP is a peer-to-peer collaborative that engages surgeons to determine the many process of care metrics that go into a "perfect" operation, track on risk adjusted outcomes that are specific to a given operation, and create interventions to correct under performance in both the use of these process measures and outcomes. SCOAP is a thematic departure from report card oriented QI. SCOAP builds off the collaboration and trust of the surgical community and strives for quality improvement by having peers change behaviors of one another. We provide, here, the progress of the SCOAP initiative and highlight its achievements and challenges.
    Surgery 11/2011; 151(2):146-52. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the effectiveness of pharmacologic prophylaxis in preventing clinically relevant venous thromboembolic (VTE) events and deaths after surgery. The Surgical Care Improvement Project recommends that VTE pharmacologic prophylaxis be given within 24 hours of the operation. The bulk of evidence supporting this recommendation uses radiographic end points. The Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program is a Washington State quality improvement initiative with data linked to hospital admission/discharge and vital status records. We compared the rates of death, clinically relevant VTE, and a composite adverse event (CAE) in the 90 days after elective, colon/rectal resections, based on receipt of pharmacologic prophylaxis (within 24 hours of surgery) at 36 Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program hospitals (2005-2009). Of 4,195 (mean age 61.1 ± 15.6 years; 54.1% women) patients, 56.5% received pharmacologic prophylaxis. Ninety-day death (2.5% vs 1.6%; p = 0.03), VTE (1.8% vs 1.1%; p = 0.04), and CAE (4.2% vs 2.5%; p = .002) were lower in those who received pharmacologic prophylaxis. After adjustment for patient and procedure characteristics, the odds were 36% lower for CAE (odds ratio = 0.64; 95% CI, 0.44-0.93) with pharmacologic prophylaxis. In any given quarter, hospitals where patients more often received pharmacologic prophylaxis (highest tertile of use) had the lowest rates of CAE (2.3% vs 3.6%; p = 0.05) compared with hospitals in the lowest tertile. Using clinical end points, this study demonstrates the effectiveness of VTE pharmacologic prophylaxis in patients having elective colorectal surgery. Hospitals that used pharmacologic prophylaxis more often had the lowest rates of adverse events.
    Journal of the American College of Surgeons 08/2011; 213(5):596-603, 603.e1. · 4.50 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/2011; 140(5). · 12.82 Impact Factor
  • Brian Story, Richard Thirlby, Drew Schembre
    Gastrointestinal endoscopy 01/2011; 73(1):178-9. · 6.71 Impact Factor
  • James D. Lord, Richard C. Thirlby, Karine Valiant-Saunders
    Gastroenterology 01/2011; 140(5). · 12.82 Impact Factor
  • Gastrointestinal Endoscopy - GASTROINTEST ENDOSCOP. 01/2011; 73(4).
  • Katie Dawson, Abigail Wiebusch, Richard C Thirlby
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    ABSTRACT: India ink tattooing at the time of colonoscopy increases the yield of lymph nodes found in pathological analysis of colectomy specimens. Retrospective study. Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Two hundred nine patients with colorectal cancers underwent surgical resections between April 5, 2006, and June 25, 2009, at one institution. A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database was performed, with review of pathology reports for all cases. Adequate lymph node analysis was defined as evaluation of at least 12 lymph nodes. Of 209 patients undergoing resections, 174 had colonic neoplasms, and 35 had rectal neoplasms. Sixty-two of 174 patients with colon cancer had India ink tattooing at the time of colonoscopy. The mean (range) numbers of lymph nodes examined in tattooed and nontattooed specimens were 23 (7-77) and 19 (2-74), respectively (P = .03). At least 12 lymph nodes were analyzed for 87.1% of the tattooed specimens compared with 72.3% of the nontattooed specimens (P = .02). Eight of 35 patients with rectal cancer had India ink tattooing at the time of colonoscopy. Fifty-four percent of patients with rectal cancer had undergone neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. The median numbers of lymph nodes examined in tattooed and nontattooed specimens were 19 and 16, respectively. Tattooing of colonic lesions at the time of preoperative colonoscopy seems to increase the quality of lymph node analysis. We advocate routine tattooing of all suspicious neoplasms at the time of colonoscopy.
    Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960) 09/2010; 145(9):826-30. · 4.32 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/2010; 138(5). · 12.82 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

968 Citations
343.36 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1990–2013
    • Virginia Mason Medical Center
      • Department of General, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2012
    • Skagit Valley Hospital
      Mount Vernon, Washington, United States
  • 2008–2012
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Surgery
      Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Everett Washington
      Seattle, Washington, United States