Long-term survival rates following lung transplantation vary widely, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. And while data suggest that the lung transplant center where procedures are performed has a significant impact on patients' five-year survival rates, effects on patient outcomes are still unclear.
Study notes variation in lung transplant survival
The study's authors examined data from more than 15,000 patients who underwent lung transplantation between 1987 and 2009. After adjusting survival rates for characteristics of donors, surgical techniques and other variables, they still found significant variability among centers. Specifically, they found that mortality risks were 30% lower at low-risk centers and 70% higher at high-risk centers.
And although centers' number of procedures performed played a role in long-term survival, other factors suggested that volume was not the only factor affecting performance.
“There is a great need to explore practices at high-performing centers with the goal of exporting beneficial practices to lower-performing centers,” the authors wrote. “If such efforts do not equalize outcomes for lung transplant recipients, consideration might be given to further regionalizing the [lung transplantation] system in the United States.”
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