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Wait Time for Curative Intent Radio Frequency Ablation is Associated with Increased Mortality in Patients with Early Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Mayur Brahmania, Osman Ahmed, Melissa Kelley, Matthew Kowgier, Korosh Khalili, Rob Beecroft, Eberhard L. Renner, David Wong, Hemant Shah, Jordan Feld, Harry L.A. Janssen, Morris Sherman


Introduction. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a recommended curative intent treatment option for patients with early stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We investigated if wait times for RFA were associated with residual tumor, tumor recurrence, need for liver transplantation, or death. Material and methods. We conducted a retrospective study of patients diagnosed with HCC between January 2010 and December 2013 presenting to University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada. All patients receiving curative intent RFA for HCC were included. Multivariable Cox regression was used to determine if wait times were associated with clinical outcomes. Results. 219 patients were included in the study. 72.6% were male and the median age was 62.7 years (IQR 55.6-71). Median tumor size at diagnosis was 21.5 mm (IQR 17-26); median MELD was 8.7 (IQR 7.2-11.4) and 57.1% were Barcelona stage 0. The cause of liver disease was viral hepatitis in 73.5% (Hepatitis B and C). The median time from HCC diagnosis to RFA treatment was 96 days (IQR 75-139). In multivariate analysis, wait time was not associated with requiring liver transplant or tumor recurrence, however, each incremental 30-day wait time was associated with an increased risk of residual tumor (HR = 1.09; 95% CI 1.01-1.19; p = 0.033) as well as death (HR = 1.23; 95% CI 1.11-1.36; p ? 0.001). Conclusion. Incremental 30-day wait times are associated with a 9% increased risk of residual tumor and a 23% increased risk of death. We have identified system gaps where quality improvement measures can be implemented to reduce wait times and allocate resources for future RFA treatment, which may improve both quality and efficiency of HCC care.

Key words. Wait times., Quality Improvement., Hepatocellular carcinoma., Radiofrequency ablation., Mortality.

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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