Objective: There is a paucity of data on the relationship between hospital procedure volume and outcomes after inpatient treatment of symptomatic peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This study aimed to generate meaningful hypotheses to support the ongoing discussion.
Methods: Data derived from BARMER, Germany’s second largest insurance provider, were linked with nationwide hospital procedure volumes from mandatory hospital quality reports. All endovascular (EVR) and open surgical revascularisations (OSR) provided to patients (≥ 40 years) with symptomatic PAD between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2018 were included. Hospital volume was defined as the number of procedures performed by a hospital in the previous calendar year (in quartiles). Freedom from re-intervention, amputation, and overall mortality rate within 12 months after discharge were analysed using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. In hospital mortality was determined by generalised estimating equations logistic regression models.
Results: There were 88 187 revascularisations (72.4% EVR; EVR: 72.7 years and 45.2% females; OSR: 71.9 years and 41.9% females) registered by 668 hospitals. No statistically significant association was found between 12 month freedom from re-intervention and hospital volume (EVR: 4; quartile HR 1.05; 95% CI 0.94 – 1.16. OSR: 4; quartile HR 1.05; 95% CI 0.92 – 1.21). Patients with OSR had a decreased hazard of 12 month mortality in a high volume hospital compared with a low volume hospital (HR 0.85; 95% CI 0.73 – 0.98), but not with EVR (HR 1.03; 95% CI 0.91 – 1.16). Patients who were treated in hospitals with highest volumes showed decreased hazards of 12 month freedom from amputation when compared with low volume hospitals (EVR: HR 0.72; 95% CI 0.52 – 0.99. OSR: HR 0.61; 95% CI 0.44 – 0.85).
Conclusion: This large retrospective analysis of insurance claims suggests that higher procedure volume is associated with lower major amputation rates, although there is a need for standardisation of the definition of volume stratification. Future studies should address the impact of subsequent outpatient care and surveillance to further examine the complex interaction between treatment and outcomes.
Keywords: Amputation; Endovascular techniques; Health services; Peripheral arterial disease; Procedure volume; Quality of care; Research.