Revisiting the Pancreatic Fistula Risk Score: Clinical Nomogram Accurately Assesses Risk

Am Surg. 2023 Apr;89(4):837-843. doi: 10.1177/00031348211047471. Epub 2021 Oct 11.


Objectives: Surgeons have created numerous iterations of the pancreatic fistula risk score (FRS) to predict risk for clinically relevant postoperative pancreatic fistula (CR-POPF). The multitude of often conflicting models makes it difficult for surgeons to apply data in clinical practice.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study utilizing National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data from 2015 to 2018. The study included patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy. Missing data were resolved with multiple imputations.

Results: The study included 5975 patients; 1018 (17%) had a CR-POPF. On multivariate analysis, male sex (odds ratio (OR) 1.60 CI: 1.29-1.98 P < .001), obesity (OR 1.65 CI: 1.31-2.08 P < .001), and soft gland texture (OR 3.21 CI: 2.45-4.23 P < .001) were all associated with increased odds of a CR-POPF. Variables not associated with CR-POPF included diabetes, preoperative bilirubin, preoperative albumin, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. On multivariate analysis, duct diameter >6 mm (OR .52 CI: .34-.77 P = .001), pancreatic adenocarcinoma pathology (OR .67 CI: .53-.84 P < .001), and neoadjuvant treatment (OR .71 CI: .51-.98 P = .042) were all associated with decreased odds of a CR-POPF. We constructed a clinically relevant nomogram from this model known as the Portland FRS. Model characteristics were superior to previously published FRS models. The area under the curve (AUC) for the Portland FRS was .72 (CI: .704-.737). In comparison, AUCs for the Alternative and Seoul FRS were .70 and .64, respectively.

Conclusion: Utilizing readily available clinical data, the Portland FRS can accurately predict the risk for pancreatic fistula. The nomogram may assist surgeons in patient counseling and perioperative management.

Keywords: fistula risk score; nomogram; pancreas; pancreatectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Nomograms
  • Pancreatic Fistula / etiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors