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Abstract

Background:

The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of hospital caseload on the short-term postoperative outcome of patients with rectal carcinoma.

Methods:

A multicentre study involving 75 German hospitals was carried out between January and December 1999. Some 1463 patients with rectal carcinoma were studied.

Results: 

The hospitals were divided into three groups by annual caseload as follows: less than 20 (group 1), 20–40 (group 2) and more than 40 (group 3). The groups were identical in terms of age, gender, height, weight, tumour stage, risk factors and American Society of Anesthesiologists classification. Postoperative morbidity was less in hospitals with a case volume of more than 20 patients per year (41·7 per cent in group 2 versus 49·9 per cent in group 1). The proportion of patients undergoing abdominoperineal resection with a permanent stoma was less in hospitals with a case volume of more than 40 patients per year (26·4 per cent in group 3 versus 34·0 per cent in group 2).

Conclusion: 

A large caseload in rectal surgery results in a significant reduction in permanent stoma formation and postoperative morbidity. © 2001 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd