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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the morbidity and mortality after radical prostatectomy (RP) in relation to the numbers of RPs carried out at individual hospitals, as recent studies of complex surgery report worse outcomes in low-volume hospitals, and there has been a large increase in RPs for localized prostate cancer. METHODS: We analysed hospital episode statistics data for all 18 027 RPs in English National Health Service hospitals between 1997 and 2004. RESULTS: In multivariate analysis, there was a U-shaped association of hospital volume with mortality (P for nonlinear trend, 0.004), but this finding was based on only 59 (0.3%) deaths. The mean length of stay was 6 days and decreased by 2.96% (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.98-3.92; P < 0.001) per quintile increase in hospital volume. In all, 16.1% of men had 30-day in-hospital complications; 20.3% were readmitted with complications within a year. The odds of 30-day in-hospital wound/bleeding complications decreased by 6% (95% CI 1-11; P = 0.02), and miscellaneous medical complications decreased by 10% (0-19; P = 0.04) per increase in hospital volume quintile. For re-admissions within a year, the hazard of vascular complications decreased by 15% (6-22; P = 0.001), wound/bleeding complications decreased by 8% (2-13; P = 0.01) and genitourinary complications decreased by 5% (2-8; P = 0.002), per increase in hospital volume quintile. CONCLUSION: In men undergoing RP the length of hospital stay and rates of some short- and long-term postoperative complications afterward are lower in high-volume hospitals. The magnitudes of these effects on the outcomes studied may be too small and inconsistent to indicate a policy of selective referral to high-volume hospitals. Quality of life and oncological outcomes, however, could not be investigated in this dataset.

Original publication




Journal article


Bju int

Publication Date





1040 - 1049


Aged, Hospitalization, Humans, Length of Stay, Male, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Patient Readmission, Postoperative Complications, Prostatectomy, Prostatic Neoplasms, Treatment Outcome