Pre-COVID-19 national mortality trends in open and video-assisted lobectomy for non-small cell lung cancer
Introduction: In the current era of episode-based hospital reimbursements, it is important to determine the impact of hospital size on contemporary national trends in surgical technique and outcomes of lobectomy. Methods: Patients aged >18 y undergoing open and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy from 2008 to 2014 were identified using insurance claims data from the National Inpatient Sample. The impact of hospital size on surgical approach and outcomes for both open and VATS lobectomy were analyzed. Results: Over the 7-y period, 202,668 lobectomies were performed nationally, including 71,638 VATS and 131,030 open. Although the overall number of lobectomies decreased (30,058 in 2008 versus 27,340 in 2014, P < 0.01), the proportion of VATS lobectomies increased (24.0% versus 46.9%), and open lobectomies decreased (76.0% versus 53.0%, all P < 0.01). When stratified by hospital size, small hospitals had a significant increase in the proportion of open lobectomies (6.4%-12.2%; P 1/4 0.01) and trend toward increased number of VATS lobectomies (2.7%-12.2%). Annual mortality rates for VATS (range: 1.0%-1.9%) and open (range: 1.9%-2.4%) lobectomy did not significantly differ over time (all P > 0.05) but did decrease among small hospitals (4.1%-1.3% and 5.1%-1.1% for VATS and open, respectively; both P < 0.05). After adjusting for confounders, hospital bed size was not a predictor of in-hospital mortality. Conclusions: Utilization of VATS lobectomies has increased over time, more so among small hospitals. Mortality rates for open lobectomy remain consistently higher than VATS lo bectomy (range 0.4%-1.4%) but did not significantly differ over time. This data can help benchmark hospital performance in the future.