April 11, 2019 – Surgery Risk


Anchor lead: New risk factors for poor surgical outcomes have been identified, Elizabeth Tracey reports

How well do you cope with stress? Do you have people in your life who will help if things go awry? Such factors, called ‘psychosocial risk factors,’ may have an impact on how well you recover from surgery if you also have other health conditions such as diabetes. That’s according to research by Ira Leeds, a postdoctoral fellow and surgical resident at Johns Hopkins.

Leeds: We found that the magic number is about two. So if someone has two psychosocial risk factors or more, and they have a medical comorbidity, the combination leads to patients having a higher risk for postoperative complications. And it’s not a small risk, it’s a real risk, it’s about a thirty percent increased risk. That’s on par with comparing a patient who has zero diabetes and a patient with uncontrolled diabetes. So in talking on the grand scheme of is this a clinically significant risk, the answer is it’s an significant as any of the things we think of as a risk factor before surgery.  :28

Leeds says evaluating psychosocial risk factors along with other known risk factors such as preexisting health conditions may help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.