The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Composite Score for Evaluating Esophagectomy for Esophageal Cancer.
BACKGROUND: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) has developed composite quality measures for cardiac surgical procedures and lobectomy for lung cancer. This study sought to develop a composite measure for esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. METHODS: The STS esophagectomy composite score is derived from two risk-adjusted outcomes: mortality and major complications. General Thoracic Surgery Database data were included from 2012 to 2014, and 95% Bayesian credible intervals were established to determine "star" ratings. STS participants were compared with the National Inpatient Sample as a national benchmark (including non-STS participants). RESULTS: The study population included 4,321 patients who underwent esophagectomy from 167 participating centers. The operative mortality rate was 3.1% (N = 135), and the major complication rate was 33.1% (N = 1,429). Of the 167 participants, 70 reported an average yearly volume of five or more esophagectomies during the study period. With this threshold, reliability for the composite score was 0.58 (95% credible interval, 0.41 to 0.72). Of these 70 participants, 5 (7.1%) were three star, 63 (90.0%) were two star, and 2 (2.9%) were one star. A majority of STS participants, 58.1% (N = 97), did not have sufficient volume to receive a reliable composite score. Benchmarked to the 2012 National Inpatient Sample cohort, STS General Thoracic Surgery Database participants have comparable discharge mortality rates and shorter postoperative lengths of stay. CONCLUSIONS: STS has developed a quality measure for esophageal cancer surgical procedures based on a composite score of risk-adjusted operative mortality rates and major complications. The composite rating for esophagectomy has good reliability for programs performing an average of five procedures annually, although almost 60% of participants are not eligible for a star rating because of lower procedure volumes.
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