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About the Audit

Background information

The nephrectomy database was originally set up in 2001 to monitor and assist the introduction of laparoscopic nephrectomy (keyhole surgery). In 2012, when BAUS first published individual outcomes data, this procedure was chosen because it was undertaken by approximately one third (35%) of all urologists. The database has been amended in subsequent years to include all three procedures outlined below, performed both open and laparoscopically (keyhole).

Cumulative data from previous years are available on the Data & Audit pages of the Professionals section.

What is included in this audit?

This audit includes nephrectomies, nephroureterectomies & partial nephrectomies carried out either through a conventional open incision or through several keyhole incisions (laparoscopic or robotic assisted laparoscopic). 

  • nephrectomy - removal of the kidney for benign or malignant disease,
  • nephroureterectomy - removal of the kidney (and surrounding fat) for suspected cancer of the kidney and/or ureter, together with the whole ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) and
  • partial nephrectomy - removal of part of the kidney with the surrounding fat for suspected cancer of the kidney or for some benign causes.

Interpretation of the data

This is our seventh year of publishing nephrectomy data. However we restrict our publication to the most recent three years i.e 2017, 2018 & 2019. Publishing three years worth of data increases the numbers and makes any statisitical analysis more meaningful.

As in previous years, we are publishing information on complication and transfusion rates which has been risk-adjusted. We recognise that our risk adjustment models are, relatively speaking, in their infancy. This is an area we will continue to work on, because there are many factors that may impact upon the results of surgery, including:

  • size and complexity of the tumour
  • presence of stones or infection in non-malignant cases
  • other medical conditions affecting the patient
  • other risk factors for surgery in general

The mortality rate is NOT risk-adjusted because mortality is, fortunately, a relatively rare event for these procedures; risk-adjustment of such small numbers is not, therefore, very accurate.

Variations in the data between individual surgeons and units may be a reflection of case complexity, patient factors or a combination of both. As a result, BAUS recommends that:

... individual patients must discuss the likely outcomes of nephrectomy with their urologist before an operation so they can understand the expected outcome, taking account of the complexity of the technical problem in the context of their general health and their particular case."

Data validation

The data presented are surgeon-reported by entry into the BAUS Data & Audit System. There is, therefore, no reliable method for validating the data other than by comparing with the latest Hospital Episode Statistics (HES).

There are no financial incentives (or sanctions) for hospitals and Trusts to support collection of nephrectomy data, and this may also account for the data being incomplete.

It is also important to note that as a result of the COVID-19 crisis some surgeons and units may have been unable to submit all or any of their 2019 data.