Does the Surgical Apgar Score predict serious complications after elective major cancer surgery?

Neha Goel, Samuel M. Manstein, William H. Ward, Lyudmila DeMora, Marc C. Smaldone, Jeffrey M. Farma, Robert G. Uzzo, Nestor F. Esnaola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Major cancer surgery is associated with significant risks of perioperative morbidity and mortality, resulting in delayed adjuvant therapy, higher recurrence rates, and worse overall survival. Previous retrospective studies have used the Surgical Apgar Score (SAS) for perioperative risk assessment. This study prospectively evaluated the predictive value of SAS to predict serious complication (SC) after elective major cancer surgery. Methods: Demographic, comorbidity, procedure, and intraoperative data were collected prospectively for 405 patients undergoing elective major cancer surgery between 2014-17. The SAS was calculated immediately postoperative and outcome data were collected prospectively. Rates of SC according to SAS risk category were compared using Cochran-Armitage trend test. Receiver operating characteristic curves and area under the receiver operating characteristic curves were generated and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Results: Eighty percent, 17.3%, and 2.7% of patients were low (SAS 7-10), intermediate (SAS 5-6), and high risk (SAS 0-4), respectively, for SC based on their SAS. Forty-six (11.4%) had an SC within 30 days; 3.7% returned to the operating room, 3.7% experienced a urinary tract infection, 3.2% experienced a respiratory complication, 2.7% experienced a wound complication, and 1.2% experienced a cardiac complication. Overall, 9.3%, 18.6%, and 27.3% of patients with SAS 7-10, 5-6, and 0-4 experienced an SC, respectively (P = 0.005). The overall discriminatory ability of the SAS was modest (area under the receiver operating characteristic curves 0.661; 95% confidence intervals, 0.582-0.740). Conclusions: Although there was an overall association between SAS and higher risk of subsequent postoperative SC in our cohort, the ability of the SAS to accurately predict risk of postoperative SC at the patient level was limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-247
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Elective major cancer surgery
  • Serious complications
  • Surgical Apgar Score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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