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03.09.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2020 Open Access

Gastric Cancer 2/2020

Identification of the clinically most relevant postoperative complications after gastrectomy: a population-based cohort study

Gastric Cancer > Ausgabe 2/2020
Emma C. Gertsen, Lucas Goense, Hylke J. F. Brenkman, Richard van Hillegersberg, Jelle P. Ruurda, the Dutch Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Audit (DUCA) group
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10120-019-00997-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Emma Gertsen will be the corresponding author during the review process.

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Postoperative complications frequently occur after gastrectomy for gastric cancer and are associated with poor clinical outcomes, such as mortality and reoperations. The aim of study was to identify the clinically most relevant complications after gastrectomy, using the population-attributable fraction (PAF).


Between 2011 and 2017, all patients who underwent potentially curative gastrectomy for gastric adenocarcinoma were included from the Dutch Upper GI Cancer Audit. Postoperative outcomes (morbidity, mortality, recovery and hospitalization) were evaluated. The prevalence of postoperative complications (e.g., anastomotic leakage and pneumonia) and of the study outcomes were calculated. The adjusted relative risk and Confidence Interval (CI) for each complication-outcome pair were calculated. Subsequently, the PAF was calculated, which represents the percentage of a given outcome occurring in the population, caused by individual complications, taking both the relative risk and the frequency in which a complication occurs into account.


In total, 2176 patients were analyzed. Anastomotic leakage and pulmonary complications had the greatest overall impact on postoperative mortality (PAF 29.2% [95% CI 19.3–39.1] and 21.6% [95% CI 10.5–32.7], respectively) and prolonged hospitalization (PAF 12.9% [95% CI 9.7–16.0] and 14.7% [95% CI 11.0–18.8], respectively). Anastomotic leakage had the greatest overall impact on re-interventions (PAF 25.1% [95% CI 20.5–29.7]) and reoperations (PAF 30.3% [95% CI 24.3–36.3]). Intra-abdominal abscesses had the largest impact on readmissions (PAF 7.0% [95% CI 3.2–10.9]). Other complications only had a small effect on these outcomes.


Surgical improvement programs should focus on preventing or managing anastomotic leakage and pulmonary complications, since these complications have the greatest overall impact on clinical outcomes after gastrectomy.

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