Adapting the Surgical Apgar Score for Perioperative Outcome Prediction in Liver Transplantation: A Retrospective Study

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The surgical Apgar score (SAS) is a 10-point scale using the lowest heart rate, lowest mean arterial pressure, and estimated blood loss (EBL) during surgery to predict postoperative outcomes. The SAS has not yet been validated in liver transplantation patients, because typical blood loss usually exceeds the highest EBL category. Our primary aim was to develop a modified SAS for liver transplant (SAS-LT) by replacing the EBL parameter with volume of red cells transfused. We hypothesized that the SAS-LT would predict death or severe complication within 30 days of transplant with similar accuracy to current scoring systems.


A retrospective cohort of consecutive liver transplantations from July 2007 to November 2013 was used to develop the SAS-LT. The predictive ability of SAS-LT for early postoperative outcomes was compared with Model for End-stage Liver Disease, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment, and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III scores using multivariable logistic regression and receiver operating characteristic analysis.


Of 628 transplants, death or serious perioperative morbidity occurred in 105 (16.7%). The SAS-LT (receiver operating characteristic area under the curve [AUC], 0.57) had similar predictive ability to Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III, model for end-stage liver disease, and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores (0.57, 0.56, and 0.61, respectively).


Seventy-nine (12.6%) patients were discharged from the ICU in 24 hours or less. These patients’ SAS-LT scores were significantly higher than those with a longer stay (7.0 vs 6.2, P < 0.01). The AUC on multivariable modeling remained predictive of early ICU discharge (AUC, 0.67).


The SAS-LT utilized simple intraoperative metrics to predict early morbidity and mortality after liver transplant with similar accuracy to other scoring systems at an earlier postoperative time point.

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