Measuring quality care in localized renal cell cancer: use of appropriate preoperative investigations in a population-based cohort
Obtaining appropriate preoperative risk-specific staging investigations for localized renal cell carcinoma (rcc) is a recognized quality indicator. The goal of the present work was to determine the use and appropriateness of preoperative investigations in patients undergoing curative surgery for rcc.
This population-based retrospective study of patients having surgery for localized rcc recorded the use of preoperative imaging and laboratory investigations within 6 months of surgery. “Appropriate” stage-specific investigations were determined using recognized published guidelines.
The study cohort consisted of 544 patients with 72.8% being stage i, 18.4% being stage ii, and 8.8% being stage iii by clinical TNM (2002) criteria. In 61.6%, chest imaging was obtained by chest radiography or computed tomography (ct) within 3 months preoperatively; in 75.6%, such imaging was obtained within 6 months. Abdominal ct imaging was obtained in 97.1% of patients before surgery, with 77.5% of patients receiving such imaging within 3 months of surgery. Complete blood count, electrolytes, and creatinine were measured in 99.1% of patients, but those tests plus other recommended blood tests including calcium, alkaline phosphatase, and liver function were measured in only 17.7%.
In this study, most patients received appropriate abdominal imaging, but chest imaging was underutilized in the overall cohort. Despite being recommended, blood tests such as liver function, alkaline phosphatase, and calcium were completed in fewer than 2 of 10 patients. This analysis provides the groundwork for quality improvement initiatives directed to the use of preoperative investigations in localized rcc.