Research finds gallbladder surgery lottery

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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.

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.