August 14, 2013
1 min read

American College of Surgeons constructs surgical risk calculator

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Researchers from the American College of Surgeons have created a web-based Surgical Risk Calculator using information gathered from 400 different hospitals and 1.4 million patients across 1,500 surgical procedures in multiple specialties.

“Predicting postoperative risks, and identifying patients at a higher risk of complications, has traditionally been based on anecdotal experience of the individual surgeon or small studies from other institutions. Importantly, these risk estimates have been generic and not specific to an individual patient’s risk factors,” Karl Y. Bilimoria, MD, MS, director of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center at Northwestern University in Chicago, stated in an American College of Surgeons (ACS) press release. “To have truly informed consent and shared decision making with a patient, we need the ability to provide customized, personal risk estimates for patients undergoing any operation.”

The calculator was created as part of the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. It takes into account as many as 22 preoperative patient risk factors and measures the risk of mortality and eight other postoperative factors when compared to an “average patient,” according to the release.

According to the authors, the calculator provided excellent predictions for mortality, overall complications and other complications such as surgical site infection, blood clot, kidney failure, heart problems, pneumonia and urinary tract infection. The authors noted that some patient factors are hard to measure, and also included a “surgeon adjustment score” based on a surgeon’s subjective assessment of a patient.

Surgeons interested in using the Surgical Risk Calculator can access it here.


Cohen ME. J Am Coll Surg. 2013;doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2013.02.027.

Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.