Cardiovascular and respiratory complications after major head and neck surgery

Dirk R. Buitelaar*, Alfons J.M. Balm, Ninja Antonini, Harm Van Tinteren, Johannes M. Huitink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Background. Our aim was to gain insight into the incidence rates for, distribution of, and risk factors of postoperative cardiovascular and respiratory complications in major head and neck surgery. Methods. We performed a retrospective review of 469 patients who had undergone primary major head and neck surgery. Outcome measures were incidence rates, risk factors, and distribution over time for postoperative cardiovascular and respiratory complications. A multivariate analysis was performed. Results. The incidence rates for cardiovascular and respiratory complications were 57 of 469 (12%) and 50 of 469 (11%), respectively. The incidence rate for heart failure exceeded that for pneumonia. The peak incidence for cardiovascular complications was on the first postoperative day; for respiratory complications, on the second postoperative day. Risk factors for cardiovascular complications were age, pulmonary disease, alcohol abuse, and tumor location; risk factors for respiratory complications were pulmonary disease, previous myocardial infarction, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) grade. Conclusion. In this study, the incidence rates for cardiovascular and respiratory complications were very similar. The first postoperative day was crucial with regard to cardiovascular complications. Age and chronic pulmonary diseases were the common risk factors for cardiovascular and respiratory complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-602
Number of pages8
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006

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