Elucidating Trainee Effect on Outcomes for General, Gynecologic, and Urologic Oncology Procedures

Surgical complications delay adjuvant therapy in oncology patients. Current literature remains unclear regarding resident effect on postoperative outcomes, with inappropriate coverage possibly endangering patients in spite of attending oversight. We assessed resident postgraduate year (PGY) effect on 30-day overall morbidity in cancer patients undergoing major intra-abdominal and non-abdominal surgery.

Patients undergoing non-emergent major intra- and extra-abdominal operations from 2005-2012 were queried using the American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. Attending alone and resident PGY cohorts were compared for demographics, 30-day overall morbidity, mortality, and relevant outcomes.

A total of 156,941 cancer patients undergoing major intra-abdominal (n = 76,385) or major non-abdominal (n = 80,556) procedures were captured. Demographics were clinically similar across attending and PGY levels. Rates of overall morbidity increased significantly with PGY level, along with operative time and length of stay. For major intra-abdominal procedures, all resident levels except PGY2 level adversely affected overall morbidity. Above PGY4 level, resident involvement had a stronger association with adverse outcome than preoperative comorbidities and preoperative chemotherapy. Interestingly, gastric, gall bladder, liver, pancreas, esophageal, and thyroid procedures demonstrated no effect of resident involvement on overall morbidity.

Resident PGY is independently associated with increased overall morbidity in patients undergoing selected major surgical procedures. Understanding surgical procedures affected by resident involvement will maximize outcomes.

Journal of investigative surgery : the official journal of the Academy of Surgical Research. 2016 Jan 08 [Epub ahead of print]

Megan Sippey, Konstantinos Spaniolas, Kevin R Kasten

a Department of Surgery , Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University , Greenville , North Carolina , USA., b Department of Surgery , Carolinas Health Care System , Charlotte , North Carolina , USA.