Objective To assess the use of laparoscopic surgeries (LS) and the association between its performance and hospitals’ preference for LS over open surgeries. Summary background data LS is increasingly used in many abdominal surgeries, albeit both with and without solid guideline recommendations. To date, the hospitals’ preference (LS vs. open surgeries) and its association with in-hospital outcomes has not been evaluated. Methods We enrolled patients undergoing 8 types of gastrointestinal surgeries in 2011–2013 in the Japanese National Clinical Database. We assessed the use of LS and the occurrences of surgery-related morbidity and mortality during the study period. Further, for 4 typical LS procedures, we assessed the hospitals’ preference for LS by modeling the propensity to perform LS (over open surgeries) from patient-level factors, and estimating each institution’s observed/expected (O/E) ratio for LS use. Institutions with O/E>2 were defined as LS-dominant. Using hierarchical logistic regression models, we assessed the association between LS preference and in-hospital outcomes. Results Among 1,377,118 patients undergoing gastrointestinal procedures in 2,336 participating hospitals, use of LS increased in all 8 procedures (35.1% to 44.7% for distal gastrectomy (DG), and 27.5% to 43.2% for right hemi colectomy (RHC)). Those operated at LS-dominant hospitals were at an increased risk of operative death (OR 1.83 [95%CI, 1.37–2.45] for DG, 1.79 [95%CI, 1.43–2.25] for RHC) compared to standard O/E level hospitals (0.5O/E<2.0). Conclusions LS use widely increased during 2011–2013 in Japan. Facilities with higher than expected LS use had higher mortality compared to other hospitals, suggesting a need for careful patient selection and dissemination of the procedure.
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