Incidence and risk factors for post-operative mortality, hospitalization, and readmission rates following pancreatic cancer resection

Rodney E. Wegner, Vivek Verma, Shaakir Hasan, Suzanne Schiffman, Shyam Thakkar, Zachary D. Horne, Abhijit Kulkarni, H. Kenneth Williams, Dulabh Monga, Gene Finley, Alexander V. Kirichenko


Background: The only potentially curative approach for pancreatic cancer is surgical resection, but this technically challenging procedure carries risks for postoperative morbidities and mortality. This study of a large, contemporary national database illustrates incidences of, and risk factors for, post-procedural mortality, prolonged hospital stay, and 30-day readmission.
Methods: From the National Cancer Database (NCDB), stage I–III pancreatic adenocarcinomas were identified [2004–2015]. Surgical techniques included pancreaticoduodenectomy, partial pancreatectomy (selective removal of the pancreatic body/tail), total pancreatectomy (removal of the entire pancreas) with or without subtotal resection of the duodenum and/or stomach, and extended pancreatectomy. Predictors of 30/90-day post-operative mortality, 30-day readmission rates, and prolonged hospital stay (>17 days per receiver operating curve analysis) were identified via multivariable logistic regression.
Results: Overall, 24,798 patients were analyzed (median age of 66). The majority of cases were T3 (47%), N0 (65%), pancreatic head lesions (83%), and treated with pancreaticoduodenectomy (57%). Only 16% received neoadjuvant therapy. Overall unadjusted risk of 30- and 90-day mortality ranged from 1.3–2.5% and 4.1–7.1%, respectively, depending on extent of surgery. Independent predictors of 30-/90-day mortality included preoperative therapy, increasing age, higher comorbidity score, lower income, case volume, and more extensive surgery. Similar findings were demonstrated regarding prolonged hospital stay and 30-day readmission. Age ≥70 was most associated with 30-day mortality, whereas age ≥60 was most associated with 90-day mortality and prolonged hospital stay.
Conclusions: Quantitation of incidences and risk factors for postoperative outcomes following resection for pancreatic cancer is essential for judicious patient selection and shared decision-making between providers and patients.