Trends in neurosurgical complication rates at teaching vs nonteaching hospitals following duty-hour restrictions

Travis M Dumont, Bruce I Tranmer, Michael A Horgan, Anand I Rughani
Neurosurgery 2012, 71 (5): 1041-6; discussion 1046

BACKGROUND: In 2003 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education implemented duty-hour restrictions for residents, with an unclear impact on patient care.

OBJECTIVE: The authors hypothesize that implementation of duty-hour restrictions is not associated with decreased morbidity for neurosurgical patients. This hypothesis was tested with the Nationwide Inpatient Sample to examine inpatient complications associated with a common elective procedure, craniotomy for meningioma.

METHODS: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried for all patients admitted for elective craniotomy for meningioma from 1998 to 2008, excluding the year 2003. Each case was queried for common in-hospital postoperative complications. The complication rate was compared for 5-year epochs at teaching and nonteaching hospitals before (1998-2002) and after (2004-2008) the adoption of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education work-hour restriction. Multivariate analysis was performed to control for the effects of age and medical comorbidities.

RESULTS: We identified 21177 patients who met inclusion criteria. We identified an effect of age, preexisting medical comorbidity, and timing of surgery on postoperative complication rates. At teaching hospitals, the complication rate increased from 14% to 16% (P < .001). In contrast, this increase was not mirrored at nonteaching hospitals, which saw a nearly constant postoperative complication rate of 15% from 1998 to 2002 and 15% for the years 2004 to 2008 (P = .979). This effect remained significant in a multivariate analysis including age and existing comorbidities as covariates (P = .016).

CONCLUSION: In patients undergoing craniotomy for meningioma, postoperative complication rates increased at teaching hospitals, but not at nonteaching hospitals over the 5-year epochs before and after 2003.

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