Understanding the Clinical Implications of Resident Involvement in Uncommon Operations


Objective: The objective of this study was to examine uncommon operations in greater detail given that the outcomes of uncommon operations are largely understudied. This study examines the incidence of postoperative events and the role of the resident following uncommon operations.

Design: We identified uncommon general surgical operations using the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Participant Use file (2008-2011). Death or serious morbidity (DSM) within 30 days of the operation was the primary outcome of interest. Failure to rescue (FTR) and prolonged operative time (PRopt) were evaluated as secondary outcome measures. PRopt was defined as ≥90 percentile of operative time for each procedure type. Independent multivariate logistic regressionmodels were generated to examine the impact of these descriptors on the outcomes of interest.

Setting/Participants: The dataset utilized was the United States National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Participant Use File which leverages data points from over 700 hospitals that range from primary to quaternary care centers. Resident participation was defined as resident involved (RI) or no resident involved (NRI), and stratified by postgraduate year (PGY): 1-3, 4-5, and 6+.

Results: Resident participant data was available for 21,453 (84.5%) uncommon operations with NRI in 25.4% (5447). With regard to resident participation, PGY1-3 were found in 12.6% (2699), PGY4-5 in 50.4% (10,817), and PGY6+ in 11.6% (2490). The overall observed DSM rate was 28.6% and the observed FTR rate was 5.8%. Overall, there was no difference in DSM by RI status (NRI: 1528; 28.1% vs RI: 4602; 28.8%; p = 0.324); however, PGY level was associated with DSM (PGY1-3: 774, 28.7%, PGY4-5: 3210, 29.7%, PGY6+: 618, 24.8%; p < 0.001). Any RI was associated with a lower rate of FTR (5.1%) when compared to NRI (8.3%, p < 0.001) with decreasing FTR events by increasing PGY (PGY1-3: 6.4%, PGY4-5: 5.2%, PGY6+: 3.3%; p < 0.001). After adjustment for patient risk factors, any RI remained associated with a lower likelihood of FTR than NRI (odds ratio: 0.65, 95% confidence interval: 0.49-0.87) while only the PGY4-5 and PGY6+ groups were associated with lower likelihood of FTR in comparison to NRI. RI was associated with PRopt in univariate and multivariable analyses.

Conclusions: Uncommon operations were associated with substantial DSM. The involvement of PGY4-5 residents was associated with the greatest likelihood of DSM. With increasing PGY of the involved resident, cases with PGY > 5 demonstrated a lower likelihood of risk-adjusted FTR. The explanation for these findings is not clear; however, the involvement of more senior residents in the technical aspects of uncommon operations may lead to improved results.