Author(s): NICK F LOGARAKIS, MICHAEL AS JEWETT, J LUYMES, R JOHN DA HONEY
We measure and compare operator specific success rates of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL *) performed by 12 urologists in 1 unit to determine interoperator variation.
Materials and Methods: From January 1, 1994 to September 1, 1997 a total of 5,769 renal and ureteral stones received 9,607 ESWL treatments by 15 urologists with a Dornier MFL 5000* lithotriptor. The 3-month followup data are available for 4,409 stones. Outcome measures consisted of patient demographics, stone characteristics, technical details of lithotripsy, and stone-free and success rates by treating urologists.
Results: Treatment results were analyzed for 12 urologists (surgeons A to L) who treated more than 100 stones each, totaling 4,244 with followup information available. Mean stone-free and success rates were 50.6% and 72.3%, respectively. Surgeon A had significantly higher stone-free and success rates of 56.2% and 76.7%, respectively (p <0.05), with treatment results from 877 stones, which was a significantly higher number than others (p <0.05). Significant differences existed in mean number of shocks delivered among urologists (p = 0.0001), with surgeons A and J delivering the highest mean numbers (2,317 and 2,801, respectively). There was no difference in treatment duration (p = 0.75) but variation existed among urologists in terms of mean maximum treatment voltage (p = 0.0001). Mean fluoroscopy time at 4.1 minutes was higher for surgeon A than others (p <0.05). Mean complication rate following ESWL was 4.9% with no difference among urologists (p = 0.175). Re-treatment was required in 21.7% of cases and surgeon A had the lowest rate (15.9%, p <0.05).
Conclusions: We demonstrated clinically and statistically significant intra-institutional differences in success rates following ESWL. The best results were obtained by the urologist who treated the greatest number of patients, used a high number of shocks and had the longest fluoroscopy time. Accurate targeting is crucial when using a lithotriptor, such as the Dornier MFL 5000, with a narrow focal zone of 6.5 mm. in diameter. Other centers should be encouraged to develop similar programs of outcome analysis in an attempt to improve performance.Medical & Surgical Urology