Improvement in Surgical Quality Following Pancreaticoduodenectomy With Increasing Case Volume in a Rural Hospital

Anastasios T. Mitsakos, Nasreen A. Vohra, Timothy L. Fitzgerald, Peter Buccini, Alexander A. Parikh, Rebecca A. Snyder, Emmanuel E. Zervos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The literature is replete with studies that define the nexus of quantity and quality in complex surgical operations. These observations have heralded a call for centralization of care to high-volume centers. The purpose of this study was to chronicle improvements in quality associated with pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) as a rural hospital matures from a low- to very high-volume center. Methods: A retrospective review of a prospective pancreatic surgery database was undertaken from July 2007 to June 2020. Annual periods were characterized as low (≤12/year), high (13-29/year), and very high volume (≥30/year). Data for the following quality benchmarks were aggregated and compared: length of stay (LOS), 30-day readmissions, 30-day mortality, and 1- and 3-year survival. A subgroup analysis was undertaken in those patients undergoing PD for adenocarcinoma detailing margin status and number of lymph nodes harvested. Outcomes were compared using the Fisher’s exact and Student’s t-test. Results: 375 PD were completed over the 13-year period; 62.1% were undertaken for ductal adenocarcinoma. There was a significant decrease in LOS and 30-day readmissions as the institution matured toward very high volume. There were no significant differences in 30-day mortality, 1- and 3-year survival, or margin negativity rates associated with volume. Extent of lymph node harvest significantly improved as institutional experience increased. Discussion: Our pancreatic surgery program matured rapidly from low to very high volume with institutional commitment and dedicated resources. As the institution matured, operational efficiencies and surgical quality improved. Not unexpectedly, biology trumped volume as reflected in 1- and 3-year survival rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-751
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical outcomes
  • high-volume center
  • pancreaticoduodenectomy
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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