Geographical Variation in the Management of Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease: A Nationwide Danish Cohort Study

Rikke Søgaard, Louise S Londero, Jes Lindholt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Equal access for equal needs is a key goal for many healthcare systems but geographical variation research has shown that this is often not the case in areas other than vascular surgery. This study assessed the variation across specialised vascular centres of an entire healthcare system in the costs and outcomes for patients having first time revascularisation for peripheral arterial occlusive disease.

METHODS: This was a national study of all first time revascularisations performed in the Danish healthcare system between 2009 and 2014. Episodes were identified in the Danish Vascular Registry (n = 10 300) and data on one year follow up in terms of the costs of specialised healthcare (€) and amputation status were acquired from national registers. Generalised gamma and logit regressions were used to predict margins between centres while adjusting for population heterogeneity (age, sex, education, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, use of prophylactic pharmacological therapy, indication and type of revascularisation). Cost effectiveness frontiers were used to identify efficient providers and to illustrate the cost of reducing the system level risk of amputation.

RESULTS: For each of the indications of chronic limb threatening and acute limb ischaemia, the one year amputation risks varied from 11% to 16% across centres (p = .003, p = .006) whereas for intermittent claudication there was no significant difference across centres. The corresponding costs of care varied across centres for all indications (p = .027, p = .028, p = .030). Linking costs and outcomes, three of seven centres were observed to provide poorer quality at higher costs. Exponentially increasing costs to obtain the maximum reduction of the amputation risk were observed.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that there is substantial variation in the clinical management of peripheral arterial occlusive disease across the Danish healthcare system and that this results in very different levels of efficiency - on top of potentially unequal treatment for equal needs. Further research is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)72-79
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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