Interfacility Transfer of Medicare Beneficiaries With Acute Type A Aortic Dissection and Regionalization of Care in the United States. Circulation Goldstone, A. B., Chiu, P., Baiocchi, M., Lingala, B., Lee, J., Rigdon, J., Fischbein, M. P., Woo, Y. J. 2019; 140 (15): 1239–50


The feasibility and effectiveness of delaying surgery to transfer patients with acute type A aortic dissection-a catastrophic disease that requires prompt intervention-to higher-volume aortic surgery hospitals is unknown. We investigated the hypothesis that regionalizing care at high-volume hospitals for acute type A aortic dissections will lower mortality. We further decomposed this hypothesis into subparts, investigating the isolated effect of transfer and the isolated effect of receiving care at a high-volume versus a low-volume facility.We compared the operative mortality and long-term survival between 16?886 Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with an acute type A aortic dissection between 1999 and 2014 who (1) were transferred versus not transferred, (2) underwent surgery at high-volume versus low-volume hospitals, and (3) were rerouted versus not rerouted to a high-volume hospital for treatment. We used a preference-based instrumental variable design to address unmeasured confounding and matching to separate the effect of transfer from volume.Between 1999 and 2014, 40.5% of patients with an acute type A aortic dissection were transferred, and 51.9% received surgery at a high-volume hospital. Interfacility transfer was not associated with a change in operative mortality (risk difference, -0.69%; 95% CI, -2.7% to 1.35%) or long-term mortality. Despite delaying surgery, a regionalization policy that transfers patients to high-volume hospitals was associated with a 7.2% (95% CI, 4.1%-10.3%) absolute risk reduction in operative mortality; this association persisted in the long term (hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.75-0.87). The median distance needed to reroute each patient to a high-volume hospital was 50.1 miles (interquartile range, 12.4-105.4 miles).Operative and long-term mortality were substantially reduced in patients with acute type A aortic dissection who were rerouted to high-volume hospitals. Policy makers should evaluate the feasibility and benefits of regionalizing the surgical treatment of acute type A aortic dissection in the United States.

View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.038867

View details for PubMedID 31589488