1 Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 395 W. 12th Ave., Suite 670, Columbus, OH, USA.
2 Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 395 W. 12th Ave., Suite 670, Columbus, OH, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data on the impact of hospital volume and travel distance on patient outcomes after major abdominal surgery remain poorly defined. We sought to characterize the relationship of travel distance, hospital volume, and long-term outcomes of patients undergoing surgical resection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
The 2004-2015 National Cancer Database was used to identify patients who underwent resection of HCC. Patients were stratified according to travel distance and hospital volume quartiles, and multivariable regression models were utilized to examine the impact of travel distance, hospital volume, and travel distance/hospital volume on overall survival (OS).
Among the 12,266 patients identified, procedures included wedge/segmental resections (N = 7354, 59.9%), hemi-hepatectomy (N = 4003, 32.6%), and extended hepatectomy (N = 909, 7.5%). Stratifying data into quartiles, travel distance to surgical care was ≤ 5.7 miles (mi), > 5.7-14.2 mi, > 14.2-44.4 mi, and ≥ 44.4 mi, while hospital volume quartiles determined on the hospital level were ≤ 1 case per year, 1.1-4, 4.1-12.5, and ≥ 12.5. On multivariable analysis, increased hospital volume was associated with decreased hazard of mortality (HR 0.69, 95% CI 0.45-0.82, p < 0.001). Travel distance was not significantly associated with hazard of mortality. Furthermore, only hospital volume was associated with mortality (HR 0.67, 95% CI 0.56-0.80, p < 0.001) after controlling for both travel distance and hospital volume.
Only hospital volume was associated with increased hazard of mortality. The benefits of undergoing resection for HCC at a high-volume hospital appear to outweigh the inconvenience of longer travel distances.