Outcome-volume relationships and transhiatal esophagectomy: Minimizing "failure to rescue"

Renee L. Arlow, Dirk F. Moore, Chunxia Chen, John Langenfeld, David A. August

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: The objective of this study is to describe the system and technical factors that enabled our moderate size transhiatal esophagectomy program to achieve low mortality rates. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on 200 consecutive patients who underwent transhiatal esophagectomy at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Primary outcomes included operative times, estimated blood loss, frequency and nature of complications, and lengths of stay in the hospital and the intensive care unit. Results: In general, surgical outcomes tended to improve over the course of this study. We identified decreased operative time, intra-operative blood loss, frequency of complications, and lengths of intensive care unit and hospital stay as the program matured. Through coordinated actions of the surgical and anesthesia teams, all intraoperative injuries were responded to in an effective, emergent fashion and all but one patient was saved. This resulted in an inhospital and 30-day mortality rate of only 0.5%. Conclusions: Our study suggests that a dual attending approach, focus on avoiding "failure to rescue", increased volume, and a surgeon driven commitment to quality improvement may lead to low mortality rates after transhiatal esophagectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalAnnals of Surgical Innovation and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 19 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


  • Esophageal cancer
  • Esophagectomy
  • Failure to rescue
  • Outcome-volume relationships
  • Postoperative complication
  • Quality improvement


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