Clinical assessment of peripheral perfusion to predict postoperative complications after major abdominal surgery early: a prospective observational study in adults

Michel van Genderen, JJ Paauwe, Jeroen de Jonge, Ralf Valk, Alexandre Pinto Lima, Jan Bakker, Jasper van Bommel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Altered peripheral perfusion is strongly associated with poor outcome in critically ill patients. We wanted to determine whether repeated assessments of peripheral perfusion during the days following surgery could help to early identify patients that are more likely to develop postoperative complications. Methods: Haemodynamic measurements and peripheral perfusion parameters were collected one day prior to surgery, directly after surgery (D0) and on the first (D1), second (D2) and third (D3) postoperative days. Peripheral perfusion assessment consisted of capillary refill time (CRT), peripheral perfusion index (PPI) and forearm-to-fingertip skin temperature gradient (Tskin-diff). Generalized linear mixed models were used to predict severe complications within ten days after surgery based on Clavien-Dindo classification. Results: We prospectively followed 137 consecutive patients, from among whom 111 were included in the analysis. Severe complications were observed in 19 patients (17.0%). Postoperatively, peripheral perfusion parameters were significantly altered in patients who subsequently developed severe complications compared to those who did not, and these parameters persisted over time. CRT was altered at D0, and PPI and Tskin-diff were altered on D1 and D2, respectively. Among the different peripheral perfusion parameters, the diagnostic accuracy in predicting severe postoperative complications was highest for CRT on D2 (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.91 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.83 to 0.92)) with a sensitivity of 0.79 (95% CI = 0.54 to 0.94) and a specificity of 0.93 (95% CI = 0.86 to 0.97). Generalized mixed-model analysis demonstrated that abnormal peripheral perfusion on D2 and D3 was an independent predictor of severe postoperative complications (D2 odds ratio (OR) = 8.4, 95% CI = 2.7 to 25.9; D2 OR = 6.4, 95% CI = 2.1 to 19.6). Conclusions: In a group of patients assessed following major abdominal surgery, peripheral perfusion alterations were associated with the development of severe complications independently of systemic haemodynamics. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to explore in more detail the effects of peripheral perfusion-targeted resuscitation following major abdominal surgery.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this