Surgeon volume and 30 day mortality for brain tumours in England.

15 Aug 2017

BACKGROUND: There is evidence that surgeons who perform more operations have better outcomes. However, in patients with brain tumours, all of the evidence comes from the USA. METHODS: We examined all English patients with an intracranial neoplasm who had an intracranial resection in 2008-2010. We included surgeons who performed at least six operations over 3 years, and at least one operation in the first and last 6 months of the period. RESULTS: The analysis data set comprised 9194 operations, 163 consultant neurosurgeons and 30 centres. Individual surgeon volumes varied widely (7-272; median=46). 72% of operations were on the brain, and 30 day mortality was 3%. A doubling of surgeon load was associated with a 20% relative reduction in mortality. Thirty day mortality varied between centres (0·95-8·62%) but was not related to centre workload. CONCLUSIONS: Individual surgeon volumes correlated with patient 30 day mortality. Centres and surgeons in England are busier than surgeons and centres in the USA. There is no relationship between centre volume and 30 day mortality in England. Services in the UK appear to be adequately arranged at a centre level, but would benefit from further surgeon sub-specialisation.