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Predictors of perioperative complications in paediatric cranial vault reconstruction surgery: a multicentre observational study from the Pediatric Craniofacial Collaborative Group - 11/2/2019

Br J Anaesth 2019; 122: 215-23


The current incidence of major complications in paediatric craniofacial surgery in North America has not been accurately defined. In this article, the Pediatric Craniofacial Collaborative Group evaluates the incidence and determines the independent predictors of major perioperative complications using a multicentre database.


The Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery Perioperative Registry was queried for subjects undergoing complex cranial vault reconstruction surgery over a 5-year period. Major perioperative complications were identified through a structured a priori consensus process. Logistic regression was applied to identify predictors of a major perioperative complication with bootstrapping to evaluate discrimination accuracy and provide internal validity of the multivariable model.



A total of 1814 patients from 33 institutions in the US and Canada were analysed, of whom 15% had a major perioperative complication. Multivariable predictors included ASA physical status 3 or 4 (p=0.005), craniofacial syndrome (p=0.008), antifibrinolytic administered (p=0.003), blood product transfusion >50 ml/kg (p<0.001) and surgery duration over 5 hours (p<0.001). Bootstrapping indicated that the predictive algorithm had good internal validity and excellent discrimination and model performance. A perioperative complication was estimated to increase the hospital length of stay by an average of 3 days (p<0.001).



The authors conclude that the predictive algorithm can be used as a prognostic tool to risk stratify patients and thereby potentially reduce morbidity and mortality. They state that craniofacial teams can utilise these predictors of complications to identify high-risk patients. It is suggested that, based on this information, further prospective quality improvement initiatives may decrease complications, and reduce morbidity and mortality.

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