Morbidity and mortality after operation in nonbleeding cirrhotic patients

Raymond C. Doberneck, William A. Sterling, David C. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study has been to provide information on the mortality and morbidity rates for operation on nonbleeding cirrhotic patients and to identify factors that portend a grave prognosis. A review of 102 cirrhotic patients who underwent a variety of major therapeutic operations revealed a mortality rate of 19.6 percent. Mortality rates were significantly increased (p < 0.05) by emergency operation (45.8 percent), gastrointestinal related operation (27.6 percent), ascites (37.5 percent), a bilirubin concentration greater than 3.5 mg (44.4 percent), a prothrombin time increase greater than 2 seconds (36.1 percent), a partial thromboplastin time increase greater than 2 seconds (50 percent), an alkaline phosphatase concentration greater than 70 units (40.9 percent), an operative blood loss greater than 1,000 ml (33.3 percent), and the presence of one or more postoperative complications (39.6 percent). Mortality rates were not increased after extremity, genitourinary, or gynecologic operations, an albumin concentration less than 3 g, a serum glutamic oxalacetic transaminase concentration greater than 40 units, hepatomegaly, and a history of previous gastrointestinal bleeding. When significant risk factors were added, mortality rates were significantly associated (p < 0.001): zero to one factors 5.1 percent, two to three factors 19.4 percent, four to five factors 33.3 percent, and more than six factors 66.7 percent. The complication rate was 47.1 percent and included liver failure (42.2 percent), sepsis (18.6 percent), and bleeding (8.8 percent). Thus, in cirrhotic patients a clear need for operation must exist, liver function must be optimized preoperatively, and the most simple and expeditious procedure must be performed to avoid excessive blood loss and postoperative complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-309
Number of pages4
JournalThe American Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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