LS Hounsome, GA Abel, J Verne, DE Neal, G Lyratzopoulos
UNLABELLED: WHAT'S KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT? AND WHAT DOES THE STUDY ADD?: How often orthotopic reconstruction should be used after radical cystectomy is uncertain. Male sex, younger age, affluence, white ethnicity and treatment in specialist hospitals may be associated with more frequent use. More evidence about the level and likely variation in the use of orthotopic surgery is needed to establish whether there are inequalities and unmet need. In England during the study period orthotopic bladder reconstruction was likely to be used in about one in 15 patients treated by radical cystectomy. This is lower than previously reported in US series or European studies. Men and younger patients were more likely to be treated by orthotopic reconstruction, as were more affluent patients and those with less advanced disease. Whether clinical reasons or patient choice can explain some of this variation is unclear. There was no evidence for variation between different English cancer networks. A specific procedure code to allow routine analysis of population-based nationwide data would be invaluable for ongoing monitoring of potential inequalities and unmet need. OBJECTIVE: To examine variation in the use of orthotopic bladder reconstruction. Variability in the use of orthotopic reconstruction may indicate potential for quality improvement. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We analysed data from the British Association of Urological Surgeons Cancer Registry Complex Operations data set and Hospital Episode Statistics, covering the period 2004-2011. Three-level (patient, consultant and cancer network) mixed effect logistic regression models were used to examine sociodemographic and organizational variation in use of orthotopic reconstruction. The primary outcome was the odds ratio for use of orthotopic reconstruction for different patient groups. RESULTS: The final analysis sample included 1756 patients with bladder cancer who were treated by cystectomy by 121 consultants in 17 cancer networks. Of these, 120 (6.8%) were treated by orthotopic bladder reconstruction by 49 consultants in 14 cancer networks. In multivariable analysis, use of orthotopic surgery was higher in younger patients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.37 per increasing 10-year age group from 30-39 to ≥70, P ≤ 0.001) and men (OR = 2.31, P = 0.005). There was also some evidence of less frequent use among more deprived patients (OR per decreasing deprivation quintile 1.17, P = 0.037) and those with advanced disease (OR per increase in stage category 0.8, P = 0.037). After accounting for patient- and consultant-level variation, there was very limited variation in the use of orthotopic reconstruction between different cancer networks. CONCLUSIONS: Within the study context, use of orthotopic surgery was relatively rare and variable between patients with different characteristics but not between different cancer networks. The extent by which this variation reflects variation in quality of care or patient choice is uncertain. Examining the dissemination of orthotopic surgery use using nationwide data is advisable.