Background: Risk adjustment and stratification play an important role in quality assurance and in clinical research. The Physiological and Operative Severity Score for the enUmeration of Mortality and morbidity (POSSUM) is a patient risk prediction model based on 12 patient characteristics and 6 characteristics of the surgery performed. However, because the POSSUM was developed for quality assessment in general surgical units, its performance within specific subgroups still requires evaluation. The aim of the present study was to assess the accuracy of POSSUM in predicting mortality and morbidity in patients with gastric cancer undergoing D2-gastrectomy.
Methods: 137 patients with gastric cancer undergoing gastrectomy were included in this study. Detailed, standardized risk assessments and thorough documentation of the post-operative courses were performed prospectively, and the POSSUM scores were then calculated.
Results: The 30- and 90-day mortality rates were 3.6% (n = 5) and 5.8% (n = 8), respectively. 65.7% (n = 90) of patients had normal postoperative courses without major complications, 14.6% (n = 20) had moderate and 13.9% (n = 19) had severe complications. The number of mortalities predicted by the POSSUM-Mortality Risk Score (R1) was double the actual number of mortalities occurring in the median and high-risk groups, and was more than eight times the actual number of mortalities occurring in the low-risk group (R1 < 20%). However, the calculated R1 predicted rather well in terms of severe morbidity or post-operative death in each risk group: in predicted low risk patients the actual occurrence rate (AR) of severe morbidity or post-operative death was 14%, for predicted medium risk patients the AR was 23%, and for predicted high risk patients the AR was 50% (p < 0.05). The POSSUM-Morbidity Risk Score (R2) overestimated the risk of morbidity.
Conclusion: The POSSUM Score may be beneficial and can be used for assessment of the peri- and post-operative courses of patients with gastric carcinoma undergoing D2-gastrectomy. However, none of the scores examined here are useful for preoperative prediction of postoperative course.