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Open Access Research article

Factors predicting hospital length-of-stay after radical prostatectomy: a population-based study

Maria Kelly*, Linda Sharp, Fiona Dwane, Tracy Kelleher, Frances J Drummond and Harry Comber

Author Affiliations

National Cancer Registry, Building 6800, Cork Airport Business Park, Cork, Ireland

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:244  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-244

Published: 2 July 2013



Radical prostatectomy (RP) is a leading treatment option for localised prostate cancer. Although hospital in-patient stays accounts for much of the costs of treatment, little is known about population-level trends in length-of-stay (LOS). We investigated factors predicting hospital LOS and readmissions in men who had RP following prostate cancer.


Incident prostate cancers (ICD-O3: C61), diagnosed January 2002-December 2008 in men < 70 years, were identified from the Irish Cancer Registry, and linked to public hospital episodes. For those who had RP (ICD-9 CM procedure codes 60.3, 60.4, 60.5, 60.62) the associated hospital episode was identified. LOS was calculated as the number of days from date of admission to date of discharge. Patient-, tumour-, and health service-related factors predicting longer LOS (upper quartile, >9 days) were investigated using logistic regression. Patterns in day-case and in-patient readmissions within 28 days of discharge following RP were explored.


Over the study period 9096 prostate cancers were diagnosed in men under 70, 26.5% of whom had RP by end of follow-up 31/12/2009. Two of eight public hospitals and eight of forty surgeons carried out 50% of all public-service RPs. Median LOS was 8 days (10th-90th percentile = 6-13 days) and fell significantly over time (2002, 9 days; 2008, 7 days; p < 0.001). In adjusted analyses men who were not married (OR = 1.71, 95% CI 1.25-2.34), had co-morbidities (OR = 1.64, 95% CI 1.25-2.16) or stage III-IV cancer (OR = 2.19, 95% CI 1.44-3.34) were significantly more likely to have prolonged LOS. Those treated in higher volume hospitals (annual median >49 RPs) or by higher volume surgeons (annual median >17 RPs) were significantly less likely to have prolonged LOS (OR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.26-0.45; OR = 0.55, 95% CI 0.42-0.71 respectively).


Median LOS after RP decreased between 2002 and 2008 in Ireland but it remains higher than in both England and the US. Although volumes of RPs conducted in Ireland are low, there is considerable variation between hospitals and surgeons. Hospital and surgeon volume were strong predictors of shorter LOS, after adjusting for other variables. These factors point to a need for a comprehensive review of prostate cancer service provision.

Prostate; Cancer; Length-of-stay; Surgery; Prostatectomy; Service provision