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Changes in and predictors of length of stay in hospital after surgery for breast cancer between 1997/98 and 2004/05 in two regions of England: a population-based

Downing, A., Lansdown, M., West, R.M., Thomas, J.D., Lawrence, G. and Forman, D. (2009) Changes in and predictors of length of stay in hospital after surgery for breast cancer between 1997/98 and 2004/05 in two regions of England: a population-based. BMC Health Services Research , 9. ISSN 1472-6963

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Decreases in length of stay (LOS) in hospital after breast cancer surgery can be partly attributed to the change to less radical surgery, but many other factors are operating at the patient, surgeon and hospital levels. This study aimed to describe the changes in and predictors of length of stay (LOS) in hospital after surgery for breast cancer between 1997/98 and 2004/05 in two regions of England.

METHODS Cases of female invasive breast cancer diagnosed in two English cancer registry regions were linked to Hospital Episode Statistics data for the period 1st April 1997 to 31st March 2005. A subset of records where women underwent mastectomy or breast conserving surgery (BCS) was extracted (n = 44,877). Variations in LOS over the study period were investigated. A multilevel model with patients clustered within surgical teams and NHS Trusts was used to examine associations between LOS and a range of factors.

RESULTS Over the study period the proportion of women having a mastectomy reduced from 58% to 52%. The proportion varied from 14% to 80% according to NHS Trust. LOS decreased by 21% from 1997/98 to 2004/05 (LOSratio = 0.79, 95%CI 0.77-0.80). BCS was associated with 33% shorter hospital stays compared to mastectomy (LOSratio = 0.67, 95%CI 0.66-0.68). Older age, advanced disease, presence of comorbidities, lymph node excision and reconstructive surgery were associated with increased LOS. Significant variation remained amongst Trusts and surgical teams.

CONCLUSION The number of days spent in hospital after breast cancer surgery has continued to decline for several decades. The change from mastectomy to BCS accounts for only 9% of the overall decrease in LOS. Other explanations include the adoption of new techniques and practices, such as sentinel lymph node biopsy and early discharge. This study has identified wide variation in practice with substantial cost implications for the NHS. Further work is required to explain this variation.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2009 Downing et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > School of Medicine (Leeds)
Depositing User: Sherpa Assistant
Date Deposited: 06 May 2010 09:38
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2014 10:08
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-9-202
Status: Published
Publisher: Biomed Central
Identification Number: 10.1186/1472-6963-9-202
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10785

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