2014 Update on UC Davis Thoracic Surgery Outcomes

UC Davis thoracic surgery providers are helping to evolve healthcare to emphasize patient value.  Patient value not only includes traditional outcomes such as  cure of cancer and amelioration of pain, but also by the effects on quality of life, function after surgery, and most importantly, what immediate outcomes are important to patients and their families.

Transparency in outcomes is important for patients and their families, referring physicians and other stakeholders to make informed decisions on which health systems provide optimal care.  The clinical outcomes of the UC Davis Section of General Thoracic Surgery are tracked by several validated national quality databases and evaluation organizations including the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®), The ACS Committee on Cancer Quality Improvement Program (CQIP®), the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) General Thoracic Surgery Database and the LeapFrog Group.  These bodies compare medical institutions outcomes to national benchmarks and determine how individual institutions rank.

  • The ACS NSQIP® comparisons determine if an institution’s results are in line with its national peers (As Expected), underperform its peers (Needs Improvement) or out perform its peers (Exemplary).
  • The CQIP® compares cancer specific results between the Commission on Cancer accredited medical centers.  Medical centers listed in the comparisons are only national health systems with established quality cancer care infrastructure.
  • The STS Database measures the outcomes of American Board of Thoracic Surgery eligible or certified physicians, and therefore measures the thoracic surgery outcomes of the “best of the best” surgeons in the nation.
  • The LeapFrog Group determines the Highest Quality of Care Rating by surveying participating hospitals and measuring their outcomes.  A hospital can achieve a Highest Quality of Care Rating by:

–         Participating in the Leapfrog Survey

–         Performing ≥ 13 esophagectomies during the survey year

–         All of the esophagectomies performed by high-volume surgeon (≥ 2 esophagectomies/year)

Below are our UC Davis Section of General Thoracic Surgery Outcomes as measured by the most recent national quality assurance measures:

2013 ACS NSQIP® All Procedures

Mortality As Expected
Pneumonia Exemplary
Ventilator > 48 hours Exemplary
Morbidity As Expected
Unplanned Intubation Exemplary
Deep Venous Thrombosis As Expected
Urinary Tract Infection As Expected
Return to the Operating Room As Expected


Where Mortality is the rate of surviving the hospital experience after an operation; pneumonia is a lung infection acquired during the hospitalization; ventilator > 48hrs refers to the time on a breathing machine after an operation; morbidity is the accumulative complications after an operation; unplanned intubation is the need for a breathing tube to be put back in after an operation; deep venous thrombosis is a blood clot in the arms or legs that may develop after an operation; urinary tract infection is an infection often from a bladder catheter that is placed for an operation; return to the operating room is an unplanned re-operation after the intended or index operation.

2009-2011 CQIP® Lung Cancer Resection

Years 2009-2011

UC Davis

National Average

Lung Resection 30-Day Mortality



30-Day Mortality is the rate of not surviving 30 days after an operation, even after having gone homeLung Resection is the surgical removal of part of the lung such as a lobectomy or the entire lung on one side such as a pneumonectomy.  The most recent available data for CQIP® is for the years 2009-2011.

STS General Thoracic Surgery Database (2011-2013)

Years 2011-2013

UC Davis

National Average

All Procedures Discharge Mortality



All Procedures 30-Day Mortality



Where Discharge Mortality is the rate of not leaving the hospital alive after the operation, and 30-Day Mortality is the rate of not surviving 30 days after an operation, even after having gone home.

LeapFrog Group Ratings for Esophageal Resection (2013)

 4-Bar, Best Odds for Survival Ranking or Highest Quality of Care Rating: Top in the Sacramento region.

Where 4-Bars (Highest Quality of Care Rating) means the patient has the best chances of surviving an esophageal resection.  An esophageal resection or Esophagectomy is a surgery to remove the esophagus and replace it with the stomach or colon and is most commonly performed for cancer, though sometimes it needs to be performed for very extreme non-cancer disease.

The LeapFrog Highest Quality of Care Rating determines quality or value based on the volume, or the number of procedures performed.  The thinking is that having experience with a procedure refines quality outcomes and promotes value.  This volume-outcome relationship has been demonstrated in the scientific literature (Birkmeyer et al, New Engl J of Med, 2002) for both esophageal cancer surgery (Esophagectomy) as well as lung cancer surgery otherwise called lung  resection, such as lobectomy and pneumonectomy.

Since 2008 our UC Davis Section of General Thoracic Surgery has performed over 100 esophagectomies and over 250 lobectomy and pneumonectomies.  Seventy percent of our lung resections are performed minimally invasively either by Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) or by Robot.

Patient-centered value outcomes, as mentioned above, have a lot to do with the skill of the surgeon and the surgeon’s volume based experience.  However the central driver of quality outcomes is careful planning, attention to detail, and scientific evidence based best-practice treatment algorithms that are followed in consensus by the entire care team.  Care processes or pathways that are patient/family-focused, foster coordination and communication amongst all providers can promote efficiency and improve results that are important to patients (Vanhaecht et al, Health Serv Mange Res, 2007).

At UC Davis, we have developed novel evidence based post-operative care pathways for esophagectomy (Cooke et al, Society of Thoracic Surgeons 49th Annual Meeting, 2013) and lung resection as well as Respiratory Therapy pathways that are designed to prevent pneumonia, need for replacement of a breathing tube and pronged need for a breathing tube (Tanner-Corbett…Cooke et al, 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer, 2011), and in effect, “stack the deck” in the patients favor to achieve important top clinical outcomes.

We are now creating patient-centered pathways to foster patient engagement and activation, so that patients and their families are more participatory in their care, and help make the outcomes that are most important to them a reality.  These research endeavors are supported by a grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  To learn more click here.

With our evolving health care system, the definition of quality has matured from not only advanced technology that is available, but also the value in outcomes that the patient experiences, and maximization of the outcomes that are most important to patients and their families.  At UC Davis we are proud to be innovators and leaders in quality healthcare.

By | 2014-07-19T14:11:56+00:00 July 19, 2014|Benign Esophagus, Benign Lung, Esophageal Cancer, Lung Cancer|