Background: Dyspnoea is an extremely common finding in patients presenting with metastatic cancer and can be caused by cancer progression, treatment toxicity or pathology secondary to deteriorating overall health. In this study, we decided to analyse post-operative outcomes to understand if dyspnoea is a significant prognostic predictor of in-hospital mortality in patients with stage IV cancer who underwent emergent surgery in the United States.
Methods: We performed a search of the 2014 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database (NSQIP) for patients with a diagnosis of malignancy (ICD-9 Codes 145.00–200.00). Cases were divided into two groups: metastatic cancer and non-metastatic cancer. Demographical data including preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative factors, as well as data regarding complications and comorbidities were compared between these two groups. Independent t-testing was used to compare continuous variables. Chi-square testing was used to compare categorical variables. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess for predictors of mortality in metastatic cancer. Mortality was adjusted for demographics, comorbid conditions and perioperative factors.
Results: Referring to the NSQIP database, a total of 80,275 cancer patients were analysed, 11.8% (9,423) of whom had metastatic cancer. Dyspnoea at rest/moderate exertion (OR 5.7/2.4; 95% CI 2.7/1.6–11.9/3.7; p < 0.0001) were found to be the biggest predictors of in-hospital mortality in stage IV cancer patients who underwent emergent surgery.
Conclusion: Dyspnoea at rest and with moderate exertion may be used as predictors of in-hospital mortality for metastatic cancer patients undergoing emergent surgery.