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August 1993

Identifying High-Risk Patients Before Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology (Drs Pelczar and Schuller), Internal Medicine (Dr Weed), and Anesthesiology (Dr Reilley), and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute (Drs Schuller and Young), Ohio State University, Columbus.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119(8):861-864. doi:10.1001/archotol.1993.01880200065010

• Patients from the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, Ohio State University, Columbus, who were undergoing major head and neck oncologic surgery were prospectively studied to determine predictors of postoperative medical complications and wound infection. Of 119 patients studied, 28 (24%) had at least one postoperative medical complication. The strongest predictors of medical complication were poor functional capacity as assessed by the Specific Activity Scale questionnaire and alcohol abuse. Thirteen patients (11%) developed wound infections. The strongest predictors of wound infection were an elevated preoperative platelet count and prolonged surgery. Wound infection was the strongest correlate of prolonged hospital stay. These findings suggest that the Specific Activity Scale questionnaire identifies patients at risk for medical complication, that alcohol abuse should be managed aggressively, and that thrombocytosis identifies patients at risk for wound infection.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119:861-864)

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