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Dis Esophagus. 2019 May 10. pii: doz041. doi: 10.1093/dote/doz041. [Epub ahead of print]

Validation of the NUn score as a predictor of anastomotic leak and major complications after Esophagectomy.

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College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.
Institute of Translational Medicine, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK.
Department of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK.
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham.


Predicting major anastomotic leak (AL) and major complications (Clavien-Dindo 3-5) following esophagectomy improves postoperative management of patients. The role of the NUn score in their prediction is controversial. This study aims to evaluate the predictive ability of this simple score. Data were retrospectively collected for consecutive esophagectomies over a 10-year period, and NUn scores were retrospectively calculated for each patient from informatics data. A standardized definition of major AL was used, excluding minor asymptomatic, radiologically detected leaks. The predictive accuracy of the NUn score and its constituent parts, for major AL and major complications, was assessed using area under receiver operating characteristics curves (AUROCs). Of 382 patients, 48 (13%) developed major AL and 123 (32%) developed major complications. The NUn score calculated on postoperative day 4 was significantly predictive of both outcomes, with AUROCs of 0.77 and 0.71, respectively (both P < 0.001). A NUn score cut-off of 10 had a negative predictive value of 95% for major AL. The NUn score was predictive of major complications on multivariable analysis. The NUn score was found to be a significant predictor of major AL, suggesting that this is a useful early warning score for major AL. The score may also be useful in identifying patients that are the most likely to benefit from enhanced recovery protocols.


anastomotic leak; esophagectomy; postoperative complication


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