Residual disease after cytoreductive surgery is an important prognostic factor in patients with advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Aggressive surgical procedures necessary to achieve maximal cytoreduction are inevitably associated with postoperative morbidity and mortality. To determine causes of postoperative mortality (POM) after surgery for EOC all postoperative deaths in the southwestern part of the Netherlands over a 17-year period were identified and analysed by reviewing medical notes. Between 1989 and 2005, 2434 patients underwent cytoreductive surgery for EOC. Sixty-seven patients (3.1%) died within 30 days after surgery. Postoperative mortality increased with age from 1.5% (26/1765) for the age group 20-69 to 6.6% (32/486) for the age group 70-79 and 9.8% (18/183) for patients aged 80 years or older. Pulmonary failure (18%) and surgical site infection (15%) were the most common causes of death. Only a quarter of deaths resulted from surgical site complications. Our results suggest that causes of postoperative mortality after surgery for EOC are very heterogeneous. Given the impact of general complications, progress in preoperative risk assessment, preoperative preparation and postoperative care seem essential to reduce the occurrence of fatal complications.

, ,,
European Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Gerestein, C.G, Damhuis, R.A, de Vries, M, Reedijk, A, Burger, C.W, & Kooi, G.S. (2009). Causes of postoperative mortality after surgery for ovarian cancer. European Journal of Cancer, 45(16), 2799–2803. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2009.06.004