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Teaching Hospitals Safe Place for Tricky Surgeries

They have lower death rates for certain complex gastrointestinal procedures

MONDAY, Feb. 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Teaching hospitals have lower death rates for certain complex gastrointestinal surgeries than non-teaching hospitals do, says a study in the February issue of the Archives of Surgery.

University of Michigan researchers compared surgical outcomes during 1996 and 1997 at non-teaching and teaching hospitals, where medical students and surgeons are educated and trained.

The study found death rates for teaching hospitals compared with non-teaching hospitals were: 4 percent vs. 8.8 percent for pancreatic resection (removal of part or all of the pancreas); 5.3 percent vs. 8 percent for hepatic resection (removal of part of the liver); and 7.7 percent vs. 10.2 percent for esophageal resection (removal of part of the esophagus).

"The present study demonstrates that important clinical outcomes of complex surgery vary among hospitals with different organizational structures," the study authors write.

"Specifically, teaching hospitals have lower operative mortality rates for pancreatic, hepatic and esophageal resections compared with non-teaching hospitals, but these differences can be attributed to higher volume at teaching hospitals. Further studies should concentrate on the structure and process variables, other than volume, that contribute to variation in outcomes between hospitals," the authors write.

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SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Feb. 9, 2004
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