Research finds gallbladder surgery lottery

Elderly patients and those with underlying health problems having gallbladder surgery could be more at-risk depending on where they are treated, a new study from Edinburgh University has suggested.

Researchers looking at data over a ten-year period found that while patient deaths were generally low, the chances of survival for patients considered high-risk varied between hospitals.

The team hopes that the findings, based on a study of 60,000 patients treated in 37 Scottish hospitals, could help in making decisions about where people should be treated.

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The study, published by the British Medical Journal, showed that mortality rates were 50 per cent higher in hospitals carrying out a small number of gallbladder removals compared with hospitals that performed many.