Complications occur frequently after esophagectomy. Identifying the risk of complications preoperatively may help in patient selection and postoperative management. We performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent esophagectomy between 1980 and 2009. A previously reported scoring system was used to estimate risk, and its ability to predict complications was assessed. A total of 514 patients (382 men; 74%) with a mean age of 59.0 ± 12.5 years underwent esophagectomy for cancer (398; 77%) or benign disease. Minor complications occurred in 224 patients (44%) and severe complications occurred in 134 patients (26%). The calculated risk score was based on weighted values for age, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, type of operation, and forced expiratory volume in the first second expressed as a percent of predicted (FEV1%). Increasing risk score was associated with a linear increase in the incidence of complications (P < 0.001 for either severe complications or any complications). The scoring system predicted severe complications with an accuracy of 65.3% (P < 0.001). Score groups identified an incremental risk of severe complications (0 to 6 = 12%; 7 to 13 = 18%; 14 to 20 = 28%; 21 to 27 = 36%; >27 = 52%; P < 0.001). Complications are frequent after esophagectomy and can be predicted using a previously reported scoring system. This scoring system may assist in patient selection for esophagectomy and in providing appropriate resources for postoperative management of higher risk patients.
© 2011 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2011, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus.