Ability of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Risk Calculator to Predict Complications Following Total Laryngectomy

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Abstract

Importance

The accuracy of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) risk calculator has been assessed in multiple surgical subspecialties; however, there have been no publications doing the same in the head and neck surgery literature.

Objective

To evaluate the accuracy of the calculator’s predictions in a single institution’s total laryngectomy (TL) population.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Total laryngectomies performed between 2013 and 2014 at a tertiary referral academic center were evaluated using the risk calculator. Predicted 30-day outcomes were compared with observed outcomes for return to operating room, surgical site infection, postoperative pneumonia, length of stay, and venous thromboembolism.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Comparison of the NSQIP risk calculator’s predicted postoperative complication rates and length of stay to what occurred in this patient cohort using percent error, Brier scores, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, and Pearson correlation analysis.

Results

Of 49 patients undergoing TL, the mean (SD) age at operation was 59 (9.3) years, with 67% male. The risk calculator had limited efficacy predicting perioperative complications in this group of patients undergoing TL with or without free tissue reconstruction or preoperative chemoradiation or radiation therapy with a few exceptions. The calculator overestimated the occurrence of pneumonia by 165%, but underestimated surgical site infection by 7%, return to operating room by 24%, and length of stay by 13%. The calculator had good sensitivity and specificity of predicting surgical site infection for patients undergoing TL with free flap reconstruction (area under the curve, 0.83). For all other subgroups, however, the calculator had poor sensitivity and specificity for predicting complications.

Conclusions and Relevance

The risk calculator has limited utility for predicting perioperative complications in patients undergoing TL. This is likely due to the complexity of the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer and factors not taken into account when calculating a patient’s risk.

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