Factors that predict outcome of abdominal operations in patients with advanced cirrhosis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 May;8(5):451-7, quiz e58. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2009.12.015. Epub 2009 Dec 29.


Background & aims: Patients with cirrhosis have an increased risk of complications during surgery that is relative to the severity of liver disease; it is a challenge to determine which patients are the best candidates for surgery. We performed a hospital-based study to identify factors that might facilitate selection of operative candidates and guide their management.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed of 100 cirrhotic patients (50 classified as Child-Turcotte-Pugh [CTP] A, 33 as CTP B, and 17 as CTP C) who underwent abdominal surgery at an institution specializing in liver medicine and transplant from 2002-2008. Significant univariate variables were evaluated by multivariate logistic regression models to identify factors that correlate with outcome.

Results: The overall, 30-day postoperative mortality rate was 7%. The mortality for patients who were CTP A was 2%, CTP B was 12%, and CTP C was 12%; 33 patients had a Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score >or=15, with 29% mortality. On the basis of multivariate analyses, risk factors for adverse outcome were American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score >3; procedures being emergent; intraoperative blood transfusion; intraoperative blood loss >150 mL; presence of ascites; total bilirubin level >1.5 mg/dL; and albumin level <3 mg/dL. Addition of serum albumin to MELD score showed that patients with MELD score >or=15 and albumin <or=2.5 mg/dL (vs >2.5 mg/dL) had significantly increased mortality (60% vs 14%, P < .01) and independently increased probability of adverse outcome (odds ratio, 8.4; P = .015).

Conclusions: For patients with MELD scores >or=15, the preoperative albumin level correlates with outcome and could guide operative decisions. Intraoperative packed red blood cell transfusion correlates with adverse outcome and should be limited.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Serum Albumin / analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Serum Albumin