Surgeon volume and outcomes following thoracic endovascular aortic repair for blunt thoracic aortic injury

Tim J. Mandigers, Sai Divya Yadavalli, Vinamr Rastogi, Christina L. Marcaccio, Sophie X. Wang, Sara L. Zettervall, Benjamin W. Starnes, Hence J.M. Verhagen, Joost A. van Herwaarden, Santi Trimarchi, Marc L. Schermerhorn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective:

Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) for blunt thoracic aortic injury (BTAI) at high-volume hospitals has previously been associated with lower perioperative mortality, but the impact of annual surgeon volume on outcomes following TEVAR for BTAI remains unknown. 

Methods: 

We analyzed Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) data from patients with BTAI that underwent TEVAR between 2013 and 2023. Annual surgeon volumes were computed as the number of TEVARs (for any pathology) performed over a 1-year period preceding each procedure and were further categorized into quintiles. Surgeons in the first volume quintile were categorized as low volume (LV), the highest quintile as high volume (HV), and the middle three quintiles as medium volume (MV). TEVAR procedures performed by surgeons with less than 1-year enrollment in the VQI were excluded. Using multilevel logistic regression models, we evaluated associations between surgeon volume and perioperative outcomes, accounting for annual center volumes and adjusting for potential confounders, including aortic injury grade and severity of coexisting injuries. Multilevel models accounted for the nested clustering of patients and surgeons within the same center. Sensitivity analysis excluding patients with grade IV BTAI was performed. 

Results: 

We studied 1321 patients who underwent TEVAR for BTAI (28% by LV surgeons [0-1 procedures per year], 52% by MV surgeons [2-8 procedures per year], 20% by HV surgeons [≥9 procedures per year]). With higher surgeon volume, TEVAR was delayed more (in <4 hours: LV: 68%, MV: 54%, HV: 46%; P < .001; elective (>24 hours): LV: 5.1%; MV: 8.9%: HV: 14%), heparin administered more (LV: 80%, MV: 81%, HV: 87%; P = .007), perioperative mortality appears lower (LV: 11%, MV: 7.3%, HV: 6.5%; P = .095), and ischemic/hemorrhagic stroke was lower (LV: 6.5%, MV: 3.6%, HV: 1.5%; P = .006). After adjustment, compared with LV surgeons, higher volume surgeons had lower odds of perioperative mortality (MV: 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25-0.97; P = .039; HV: 0.45; 95% CI, 0.16–1.22; P = .12; MV/HV: 0.50; 95% CI, 0.26-0.96; P = .038) and ischemic/hemorrhagic stroke (MV: 0.38; 95% CI, 0.18-0.81; P = .011; HV: 0.16; 95% CI, 0.04-0.61; P = .008). Sensitivity analysis found lower adjusted odds for perioperative mortality (although not significant) and ischemic/hemorrhagic stroke for higher volume surgeons. 

Conclusions: 

In patients undergoing TEVAR for BTAI, higher surgeon volume is independently associated with lower perioperative mortality and postoperative stroke, regardless of hospital volume. Future studies could elucidate if TEVAR for non-ruptured BTAI might be delayed and allow stabilization, heparinization, and involvement of a higher TEVAR volume surgeon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-63.e3
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Volume80
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Society for Vascular Surgery

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