Preoperative laboratory data are associated with complications and surgical site infection in composite head and neck surgical resections

Nicholas B. Abt, Rosh K. Sethi, Sidharth V. Puram, Mark A. Varvares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: 1) Describe normal/abnormal preoperative laboratory testing incidence in head and neck (H&N) composite resections and 2) determine complication, surgical site infection (SSI), and transfusion predictors by laboratory test. Methods: The 2006 to 2013 NSQIP databases were queried for H&N composite resections. Laboratory data was categorized within, under, or above the normal reference range according to NSQIP definitions. Overall complications and SSI were analyzed with multivariable logistic regression analysis. Results: From 2006 to 2013, there were 1193H&N composite resections, of which 1135 (95.1%) underwent ≥1 preoperative laboratory test. Complete blood counts were obtained in 92.3%, basic metabolic panels in 90.7%, coagulation studies in 56.2%, and liver function tests (LFTs) in 52.6%. Low sodium was found in 11.5%, increasing complication odds by 2.30 (p = 0.005). High AST comprised 10.0% and increased complication odds (OR = 2.93, p = 0.012). Additionally, 9.2% had a high white blood cell (WBC) count and 3.5% had high platelets, increasing complications by 1.92 (p = 0.030) and 3.13 (p = 0.015), respectively. BUN, creatinine, total bilirubin, albumin, alkaline phosphatase, INR, PT, and aPTT abnormal values did not affect postoperative complications. Increased SSI odds were appreciated with low sodium (OR: 2.83, p = 0.002), high AST (OR: 6.85, p < 0.001), and high alkaline phosphatase (OR: 5.46, p = 0.007). Importantly, INR had no effect on transfusion rates. High PT, aPTT, or low platelets did not change transfusion odds. Conclusion: Inflammatory markers are associated with complications but not SSI. High LFTs and low sodium are associated with complications and SSI. Coagulopathies did not increase transfusion rates. These findings identify laboratory studies to focus on during H&N resection preoperative assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Complications
  • Head and neck
  • Inflammatory
  • Laboratory
  • Liver function test
  • Markers
  • Otolaryngology
  • Surgical site infection
  • Transfusion
  • White blood count


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