1 Hospital and Specialty Medicine Service Line, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA.
2 Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.
3 Internal Medicine Residency Program, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.
4 Research and Development, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Healthcare System, Seattle, WA.
5 Department of Surgery, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.
6 Primary Care Service, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA.
7 Department of Surgery, Boston VA Health Care System, and Department of Surgery, Boston University, Boston, MA.
8 Center for Innovation to Implementation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA.
9 Department of Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA.
10 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
11 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Healthcare System and University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
To describe the incidence and risk factors for mortality and morbidity in patients with cirrhosis undergoing elective or emergent abdominal surgeries.
Postoperative morbidity and mortality are higher in patients with cirrhosis; variation by surgical procedure type and cirrhosis severity remain unclear.
We analyzed prospectively-collected data from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Surgical Quality Improvement Program for 8193 patients with cirrhosis, 864 noncirrhotic controls with chronic hepatitis B infection, and 5468 noncirrhotic controls without chronic liver disease, who underwent abdominal surgery from 2001 to 2017. Data were analyzed using random-effects models controlling for potential confounders.
Patients with cirrhosis had significantly higher 30-day mortality than noncirrhotic patients with chronic hepatitis B [4.4% vs 1.3%, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.57-4.98] or with no chronic liver disease (0.8%, aOR 4.68, 95% CI 3.27-6.69); mortality difference was highest in patients with Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) score ≥10. Among patients with cirrhosis, postoperative mortality was almost 6 times higher after emergent rather than elective surgery (17.2% vs. 2.1%, aOR 5.82, 95% CI 4.66-7.27). For elective surgeries, 30-day mortality was highest after colorectal resection (7.0%) and lowest after inguinal hernia repair (0.6%). Predictors of postoperative mortality included cirrhosis-related characteristics (high MELD score, low serum albumin, ascites, encephalopathy), surgery-related characteristics (emergent vs elective, type of surgery, intraoperative blood transfusion), comorbidities (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, sepsis, ventilator dependence, functional status), and age.
Accurate preoperative risk assessments in patients with cirrhosis should account for cirrhosis severity, comorbidities, type of procedure, and whether the procedure is emergent versus elective.