Authors: Jiang R, Liu Y, Ward KC, Force SD, Pickens A, Sancheti MS, Javidfar J, Fernandez FG, Khullar OV
Title: Excess Cost and Predictive Factors of Esophagectomy Complications in the SEER-Medicare Database.
Journal: Ann Thorac Surg 106(5):1484-1491
Date: 2018 Nov
PubMed ID: 29944881
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Postoperative complications result in significantly increased health care expenditures. The objective of this study was to examine 90-day excess costs associated with inpatient complications after esophagectomy and their predictive factors, by using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database. METHODS: The study examined patients older than 65 years of age with a diagnosis from 2002 to 2009 and who were undergoing esophagectomy for cancer in the SEER-Medicare database. Quantile regression models were fit at 5% intervals for excess 90-day cost associated with perioperative complications while controlling for baseline characteristics. Excess cost was defined as the difference in total cost for patients with versus without the complication. Analyses were stratified by patients' characteristics to identify factors predictive of excess cost. RESULTS: A total of 1,462 patients were identified in the cohort; 51% had at least one complication. Significant excess cost was associated with pulmonary and mechanical wound complications across all quantiles (p < 0.05). Infectious (0.35 to 0.75 quantiles), intraoperative (0.05 to 0.85 quantiles), and systemic (0.30 to 0.85 quantiles) complications were associated with higher costs. Further, excess costs were significantly elevated in the higher quantiles. At the 0.50 quantile (median) of total cost distribution, excess cost in patients with any complication were significantly higher in patients with the following characteristics: transthoracic esophagectomy, emergency esophagectomy, Charlson Comorbidity Index >0, living in a nonmetropolitan area or poorer community, or treated in larger hospitals; no such difference was identified in patients without complications. CONCLUSIONS: Complications after esophagectomy result in significant excess 90-day cost. Efforts at cost reduction and quality improvement will need to focus on reducing complications, in particular pulmonary and infectious, as well as risk factors for higher complication costs.