BACKGROUND: The extent to which physiological factors influence outcome following oesophageal cancer surgery is poorly understood. This study aimed to evaluate the extent to which cardiorespiratory fitness and selected metabolic factors predicted complications after surgery for carcinoma.
METHODS: Two hundred and twenty-five consecutive patients underwent preoperative cardiopulmonary exercise testing to determine peak oxygen uptake ( V ˙ o2peak ), anaerobic threshold and the ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide ( V ˙ e/ V ˙ co2 ). Cephalic venous blood was assayed for serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and albumin levels, and a full blood count was done. The primary outcome measure was the Morbidity Severity Score (MSS).
RESULTS: One hundred and ninety-eight patients had anatomical resection. A high MSS (Clavien-Dindo grade III or above) was found in 48 patients (24·2 per cent) and was related to an increased CRP concentration (area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) 0·62, P = 0·001) and lower V ˙ o2peak (AUC 0·36, P = 0·003). Dichotomization of CRP levels (above 10 mg/l) and V ˙ o2peak (below 18·6 ml per kg per min) yielded adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for a high MSS of 2·86 (P = 0·025) and 2·92 (P = 0·002) respectively. Compared with a cohort with a low Combined Inflammatory and Physiology Score (CIPS), the OR was 1·70 (95 per cent c.i. 0·85 to 3·39) for intermediate and 27·47 (3·12 to 241·69) for high CIPS (P < 0·001).
CONCLUSION: CRP and V ˙ o2peak were independently associated with major complications after potentially curative oesophagectomy for cancer. A composite risk score identified a group of patients with a high risk of developing complications.