A number of hospitals in England are not carrying out sufficient abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs to meet safety guidelines, health care analysts have warned.
Experts recommend that hospitals carry out a minimum number of highly technical operations to ensure that surgeons’ skills are up to date.
But data specialists Dr Foster said that 21 NHS Trusts are continuing to perform abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs even though they carry out too few operations to meet clinical standards.
The organisation examined the number of aneurysm repairs carried out by each hospital trust.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a potentially life-threatening weakening in the wall of the major artery and the operation to repair it requires “skilled team work”, a Dr Foster spokesman said.
The Vascular Society recommends that over a three year period each hospital trust which performs aneurysm repairs should conduct at least 100 operations to maintain appropriate levels of skill.
But Dr Foster found that 21 trusts performed less than 100 of these surgeries over the last three years.
The data specialists said that these trusts could be “exposing patients to higher levels of risk by continuing to perform a highly technical procedure, even though they carry out too few operations to meet the clinical standards”.
Director of research at Dr Foster, Roger Taylor, said: “These figures come in the light of recommendations from NHS England that acute emergency services need to be concentrated in specialised centres.
“Vascular surgery is one example of how this is happening across the NHS.
“The number of hospitals performing this operation infrequently has been falling for several years. However, it remains an issue in some parts of the country.”