Peri-operative factors predisposing to pharyngocutaneous fistula after total laryngectomy: analysis of a large multi-institutional patient cohort


Department of Otolaryngology, Aurora St. Luke's Hospital


BACKGROUND: Pharyngocutaneous fistula (PCF) is a problematic complication following total laryngectomy. Disagreement remains regarding predisposing factors. This study examines perioperative factors predicting PCF following total laryngectomy using a large multicenter data registry.

METHODS: Retrospective cohort analysis was performed using patients undergoing total laryngectomy in the ACS-NSQIP database for 2006-2014. Sub-analysis was performed based on reconstruction type. Outcome of interest was PCF development within 30 days.

RESULTS: Multivariate analysis of 971 patients was performed. Three variables showed statistical significance in predicting PCF: wound classification of 3 and 4 vs. 1-2 (OR 6.42 P < 0.0004 and OR 8.87, P < 0.0042), pre-operative transfusion of > 4 units of packed red blood cells (OR 6.28, P = 0.043), and free flap versus no flap reconstruction (OR 2.81, P = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS: This study identifies important risk factors for development of PCF following total laryngectomy in a large, multi-institutional cohort of patients, thereby identifying a subset of patients at increased risk.

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