How to better identify patients at high risk of postoperative complications?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Preoperative risk assessment and perioperative factors may help identify patients at increased risk of postoperative complications and allow postoperative management strategies that improve patient outcomes. This review summarizes historical and more recent scoring systems for predicting patients with increased morbidity and mortality in the postoperative period.

Recent findings

Most prediction scores predict postoperative mortality with, at best, moderate accuracy. Scores that incorporate surgery-specific and intraoperative covariates may improve the accuracy of traditional scores. Traditional risk factors including increased ASA physical status score, emergent surgery, intraoperative blood loss and hemodynamic instability are consistently associated with increased mortality using most scoring systems.

Summary

Preoperative clinical risk indices and risk calculators estimate surgical risk with moderate accuracy. Surgery-specific risk calculators are helpful in identifying patients at increased risk of 30-day mortality. Particular attention should be paid to intraoperative hemodynamic instability, blood loss, extent of surgical excision and volume of resection.

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