The volume-outcome relationship for hip fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 2,023,469 patients.

Background And Purpose

It has been hypothesized that hospitals and surgeons with high caseloads of hip fracture patients have better outcomes, but empirical studies have reported contradictory results. This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluates the volume-outcome relationship among patients with hip fracture patients.

Methods

A search of different databases was performed up to February 2018. Selection of relevant studies, data extraction, and critical appraisal of the methodological quality was performed by 2 independent reviewers. A random-effects meta-analysis using studies with comparative cut-offs was performed to estimate the effect of hospital and surgeon volume on outcome, defined as in-hospital mortality and postoperative complications.

Results

24 studies comprising 2,023,469 patients were included. Overall, the quality was reasonable. 11 studies reported better health outcomes in high-volume centers and 2 studies reported better health outcomes in low-volume centers. In the meta-analysis of 11 studies there was a statistically non-significant association between higher hospital volume and both lower in-hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73-1.04) and fewer postoperative complications (aOR 0.87, CI 0.75-1.02). Four studies on surgeon volume were included in the meta-analysis and showed a minor association between higher surgeon volume and in-hospital mortality (aOR 0.92, CI 0.76-1.12).

Interpretation

This systematic review and meta-analysis did not find an evident effect of hospital or surgeon volume on health outcomes. Future research without volume cut-offs is needed to examine whether a true volume-outcome relationship exists.