A neat little study that is in the latest JAMA looking at values from 25 hospitals and 62 surgeons performing RNY, VSG, and AGB.  Basically, risk is minimal, and completely unrelated to COE accreditation.  Also, there is some discussion in the full listing about the efficacy of COE accreditation (which is something I question as well).

Abstract only as the full text is quite long.

JAMA. 2010;304(4):435-442. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1034

Hospital Complication Rates With Bariatric Surgery in Michigan

Nancy J. O. Birkmeyer, PhD; Justin B. Dimick, MD, MPH; David Share, MD, MPH; Abdelkader Hawasli, MD; Wayne J. English, MD; Jeffrey Genaw, MD; Jonathan F. Finks, MD; Arthur M. Carlin, MD; John D. Birkmeyer, MD; for the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative

Context Despite the growing popularity of bariatric surgery, there remain concerns about perioperative safety and variation in outcomes across hospitals.

Objective To assess complication rates of different bariatric procedures and variability in rates of serious complications across hospitals and according to procedure volume and center of excellence (COE) status.

Design, Setting, and Patients Involving 25 hospitals and 62 surgeons statewide, the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC) administers an externally audited, prospective clinical registry. We evaluated short-term morbidity in 15 275 Michigan patients undergoing 1 of 3 common bariatric procedures between 2006 and 2009. We used multilevel regression models to assess variation in risk-adjusted complication rates across hospitals and the effects of procedure volume and COE designation (by the American College of Surgeons or American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) status.

Main Outcome Measure Complications occurring within 30 days of surgery.

Results Overall, 7.3% of patients experienced perioperative complications, most of which were wound problems and other minor complications. Serious complications were most common after gastric bypass (3.6%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.2%-4.0%), followed by sleeve gastrectomy (2.2%; 95% CI, 1.2%-3.2%), and laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (0.9%; 95% CI, 0.6%-1.1%) procedures (P < .001). Mortality occurred in 0.04% (95% CI, 0.001%-0.13%) of laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, 0 sleeve gastrectomy, and 0.14% (95% CI, 0.08%-0.25%) of the gastric bypass patients. After adjustment for patient characteristics and procedure mix, rates of serious complications varied from 1.6% (95% CI, 1.3-2.0) to 3.5% (95% CI, 2.4-5.0) (risk difference, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.08-3.7) across hospitals. Average annual procedure volume was inversely associated with rates of serious complications at both the hospital level (<150 cases, 4.1%; 95% CI, 3.0%-5.1%; 150-299 cases, 2.7%; 95% CI, 2.2-3.2; and ≥300 cases, 2.3%; 95% CI, 2.0%-2.6%; P = .003) and surgeon level (<100 cases, 3.8%; 95% CI, 3.2%-4.5%; 100-249 cases, 2.4%; 95% CI, 2.1%-2.8%;≥250 cases, 1.9%; 95% CI, 1.4%-2.3%; P = .001). Adjusted rates of serious complications were similar in COE and non-COE hospitals (COE, 2.7%; 95% CI, 2.5%-3.1%; non-COE, 2.0%; 95% CI, 1.5%-2.4%; P = .41).

Conclusions The frequency of serious complications among patients undergoing bariatric surgery in Michigan was relatively low. Rates of serious complications are inversely associated with hospital and surgeon procedure volume, but unrelated to COE accreditation by professional organizations.
Author Affiliations: Department of Surgery, and Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy (CHOP) (Drs N. Birkmeyer, Dimick, Finks, and J. Birkmeyer), and Department of Family Medicine (Dr Share), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Department of Surgery, St John Hospital and Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan (Dr Hawasli); Department of Surgery, Marquette General Hospital, Marquette, Michigan (Dr English); and Department of Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan (Drs Genaw and Carlin).

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3 Responses to “JAMA studies bariatric complication rates”

  1. You mean floor-mounted toilets won’t save my life?

  2. Andrea says:

    Shocking, isn’t it?

  3. MacMadame says:

    But, but… my hospital is a COE so that must mean they are awesome!

    (Kidding.)

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