Surgical readmission and survival in women with ovarian cancer: Are short-term quality metrics incentivizing decreased long-term survival?
Abstract Objectives To determine the association between treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) or primary debulking surgery (PDS) and readmission after surgical hospitalization as well as overall survival among women with stage IIIC epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Methods We identified incident cases of stage IIIC EOC treated with both chemotherapy and surgery in the National Cancer Database (NCDB) from 2006 to 2012. 30-day readmissions were categorized as planned or unplanned. Log binomial models were used to estimate risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Survival analysis was performed using cox proportional hazards models. Results We identified 20,853 women with stage IIIC EOC. 15.6% ( n = 3242) were treated with NACT and 11.6% ( n = 2427) were readmitted within 30days of surgery, 59% ( n = 1421) were unplanned. NACT was associated with a 48% reduction in the risk of any readmission (aRR 0.52 95%CI 0.45–0.60) compared to PDS with adjustment for age, race, insurance, histology, year of diagnosis, and Charlson co-morbidity index score. However, in the same population, receipt of neoadjuvant chemotherapy was also associated with a 33% increase in the rate of death (HR 1.33 95%CI 1.29–1.40) with adjustment for the same factors. Conclusions Among women with stage IIIC EOC, NACT is associated with both decreased rates of readmission and decreased survival compared to PDS. While selection bias may account for some of the observed differences in survival, the current focus on short-term hospital-wide quality metrics, such as postoperative readmission, in the ovarian cancer population, may be creating incentives inconsistent with long-term goals. Highlights NACT is associated with decreased 30-day post-surgical readmission for stage IIIC ovarian cancer patients. In the same cohort of patients, NACT is associated with decreased long-term survival. Short-term and long-term quality metrics may be in conflict.
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