Minimum volumes in surgical treatment of lung cancer : A survey of thoracic surgeons in Germany on the introduction of a minimum volume regulation for surgical treatment of lung cancer

Lung Cancer

Robold T, et al. Chirurg 2020.


BACKGROUND: The Federal Joint Committee (G‑BA) is currently discussing the introduction of new minimum volume regulations (MVR) in Germany. The present study examined the current opinions of active thoracic surgeons regarding minimum volumes (MV) for the surgical treatment of lung cancer.

METHODS: The participating centers for the online survey were identified on the basis of the thoracic surgery departments in the 2017 hospital directory (Federal Statistical Office), lung cancer centers (German Cancer Society), certified centers of excellence for thoracic surgery (German Society for Thoracic Surgery), hospitals with a focus on lung surgery and German university hospitals. They were asked about the potential effects of MVR on the quality of results and quality of care, economic aspects and the structure of care. Furthermore, a recommendation for MV was requested and possible provisions for exemption were evaluated.

RESULTS: A total of 145 hospitals (response rate 85%) with 454 thoracic surgeons (response rate 54%) were surveyed. The results showed a high degree of approval for MV to improve the quality of results and 78.4% of the surgeons surveyed expected it to result in centralization of surgical care, although this would not lead to a deterioration in care according to 70.1% of the participants. Approximately 46.1% of the participants expected care to become more economical and 83.3% supported the introduction of an MVR, with the average recommended MV being 67 anatomical lung resections per center per year.

CONCLUSION: An MVR for the surgical treatment of lung cancer met with a high degree of approval among active thoracic surgeons. The MV that was called for (n = 67) was slightly below the prerequisite for primary surgical cases at a certified lung cancer center.