Bias Against Complex Lung Cancer Surgery

Mark S. Allen, William S. Harmsen, Jay Mandrekar, Gaetano Rocco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Lung cancer remains a major public health problem. There remain differences in mortality among socioeconomic and racial groups. Using The Society of Thoracic Surgeons General Thoracic Surgery database, we attempted to determine whether there were differences in treatment choices by thoracic surgeons based on patients’ race or insurance. Methods: Using data from 2012 to 2017, we analyzed data from 75,774 patients with a diagnosis of lung cancer for whom complete information on race, insurance, or both was available, and who had undergone a pulmonary resection. We categorized 66,614 operations (87.9%) into standard (lobectomy, bilobectomy, or wedge excision) and 9160 (12.1%) into complex (pneumonectomy, sleeve or bronchoplastic resection, segmentectomy, or Pancoast resection) operations. Univariate and multiple variable logistic regression models were used to assess associations with receipt of a complex operation. Results: Patients with private insurance had a higher incidence of complex operations (14.4%) compared with patients with government insurance (11.6%) (P <.0001). We also found a higher incidence of complex operations in White patients (12.2%) compared with Nonwhite patients (11.3%; P =.0054). On multivariate analysis, patients with private insurance were significantly more likely to have a complex operation (odds ratio = 1.08; P <.03) and Nonwhite patients were less likely to have a complex operation (odds ratio = 0.93; P =.04) respectively. Conclusions: In this cohort of patients from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons General Thoracic Surgery database, White patients and those with private insurance had a higher incidence of complex operations. Many factors affect the decision to proceed with a complex thoracic surgical operation; type of medical insurance and race may represent 2 of them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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