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Postoperative pulmonary complications are associated with an increase in mortality, morbidity and healthcare utilisation. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommends risk assessment for postoperative respiratory complications in patients undergoing surgery. In this hospital registry study of adult patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery between 2005 and 2017 at two independent healthcare networks, a prediction instrument for early postoperative tracheal re-intubation was developed and externally validated. This was based on the development of the Score for Prediction Of Postoperative Respiratory Complications. For predictor selection, stepwise backward logistic regression and bootstrap resampling were applied. Development and validation cohorts were represented by 90,893 patients at Partners Healthcare and 67,046 patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, of whom 699 (0.8%) and 587 (0.9%) patients, respectively, had their tracheas re-intubated. In addition to five pre-operative predictors identified in the Score for Prediction Of Postoperative Respiratory Complications, the final model included seven additional intra-operative predictors: early post-tracheal intubation desaturation; prolonged duration of surgery; high fraction of inspired oxygen; high vasopressor dose; blood transfusion; the absence of volatile anaesthetic use; and the absence of lung-protective ventilation. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the new score was significantly greater than that of the original Score for Prediction Of Postoperative Respiratory Complications (0.84 [95%CI 0.82-0.85] vs. 0.76 [95%CI 0.75-0.78], respectively; p < 0.001). This may allow clinicians to develop and implement strategies to decrease the risk of early postoperative tracheal re-intubation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1165 - 1174


clinical epidemiology, critical care, postoperative ventilation, quality measures, risk assessment, Female, Hospitals, Humans, Intubation, Intratracheal, Lung, Male, Middle Aged, Postoperative Complications, Registries, Reproducibility of Results, Respiration Disorders, Risk Factors