Background: Studies in lung transplantation have shown variable association between hospital volume and clinical outcomes. We aimed to identify the pattern of effect of hospital volume on individual patient survival after lung transplantation. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis using the United Network for Organ Sharing national thoracic organ transplantation database. Adult patients who underwent lung transplantation between January 2013 and December 2017 were included. The association between mean annual center volume and 1-year overall survival was examined using restricted cubic splines in a random effects multivariable Cox model. The volume threshold for optimal 1-year overall survival was subsequently approximated by the maximum likelihood approach using segmented linear splines in the same model. Results: The study included 10,007 patients at 71 transplant centers. Median annual center volume was 22 cases (interquartile range, 10.6 to 38). A center volume threshold was identified at 33 cases per year (95% confidence interval, 28 to 37). Higher center volume, to 33 cases per year, was associated with better 1-year survival (hazard ratio 0.989, 95% confidence interval, 0.980 to 0.999 every additional case). Further increase in center volume above 33 cases per year showed no additional benefit (hazard ratio 1.000, 95% confidence interval, 0.996 to 1.003 every additional case). Twenty-three centers (32.4%) reached the volume threshold of 33 cases per year. Conclusions: One-year survival after lung transplantation improved with increasing center volume to as many as 33 cases per year. Low volume centers below the 33 cases per year threshold had large variations in their outcomes and had a higher risk of performing poorly, although many of them maintained good performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


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