Combining the ASA Physical Classification System and Continuous Intraoperative Surgical Apgar Score Measurement in Predicting Postoperative Risk

J Med Syst. 2015 Nov;39(11):147. doi: 10.1007/s10916-015-0332-1. Epub 2015 Sep 10.


The surgical Apgar score predicts major 30-day postoperative complications using data assessed at the end of surgery. We hypothesized that evaluating the surgical Apgar score continuously during surgery may identify patients at high risk for postoperative complications. We retrospectively identified general, vascular, and general oncology patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Logistic regression methods were used to construct a series of predictive models in order to continuously estimate the risk of major postoperative complications, and to alert care providers during surgery should the risk exceed a given threshold. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) was used to evaluate the discriminative ability of a model utilizing a continuously measured surgical Apgar score relative to models that use only preoperative clinical factors or continuously monitored individual constituents of the surgical Apgar score (i.e. heart rate, blood pressure, and blood loss). AUROC estimates were validated internally using a bootstrap method. 4,728 patients were included. Combining the ASA PS classification with continuously measured surgical Apgar score demonstrated improved discriminative ability (AUROC 0.80) in the pooled cohort compared to ASA (0.73) and the surgical Apgar score alone (0.74). To optimize the tradeoff between inadequate and excessive alerting with future real-time notifications, we recommend a threshold probability of 0.24. Continuous assessment of the surgical Apgar score is predictive for major postoperative complications. In the future, real-time notifications might allow for detection and mitigation of changes in a patient's accumulating risk of complications during a surgical procedure.

Keywords: Complications; Notifications; Risk; Surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Blood Pressure
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Heart Rate
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Operative Time
  • Perioperative Period
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prognosis
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods*