Background: Studies have shown that delayed treatment of several non-hepatobiliary (HB) malignancies is associated with adverse effects on disease progression and survival. Delayed treatment of HB malignancies has not been thoroughly investigated. Methods: We performed a retrospective institutional review of patients referred to the Hepatobiliary Surgery Service at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) for hepatobiliary malignancies from 2002 to 2008. Primary outcomes included the time delays (TD) in patient workup. Secondary outcomes were reasons for delay as well as disparities in TD based on demographic factors. Results: Multivariate-adjusted linear regression showed a significant trend of increasing time from presentation until referral to a HB surgeon over the 7-year period (P= 0.001). There were no differences in TD by gender, age or education level. Multivariate-adjusted linear regression showed a significant trend of increasing number of imaging tests performed prior to referral [computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and ultrasound and endoscopic ultrasound (US/EUS)] (P < 0.001). Multivariate-adjusted linear regression in resectable patients showed a significant difference in overall length of survival in those with a TD1 > 30 days compared with those with a TD1 (TD from presentation until referral) <30 days (P= 0.042). Conclusions: Delays were associated with an increase in imaging studies and delays adversely affect survival in resected patients. Referring physicians are encouraged to expedite the evaluation and early referral of all patients to an HB surgeon for evaluation and treatment.
- Time delay
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