Purpose: Postoperative complications after esophagectomy can be severe or fatal and impact the patient’s postoperative quality of life and long-term outcomes. The aim of the present study was to develop the best possible model for predicting mortality and complications based on the Japanese Nationwide Clinical Database (NCD). Methods: Data registered in the NCD, on 32,779 patients who underwent esophagectomy via a thoracic approach for malignant esophageal tumor between January, 2012 and December, 2017, were used to create a risk model. Results: The 30-day mortality rate after esophagectomy was 1.0%, and the operative mortality rate was 2.3%. Postoperative complications included pneumonia (13.8%), anastomotic leakage (13.2%), recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy (11.1%), atelectasis (4.9%), and chylothorax (2.5%). Postoperative artificial respiration for over 48 h was required by 7.8% of the patients. Unplanned intubation within 30 postoperative days was performed in 6.2% of the patients. C-indices evaluated using the test data were 0.694 for 30-day mortality and 0.712 for operative mortality. Conclusions: We developed a good risk model for predicting 30-day mortality and operative mortality after esophagectomy based on the NCD. This risk model will be useful for the preoperative prediction of 30-day mortality and operative mortality, obtaining informed consent, and deciding on the optimal surgical procedure for patients with preoperative risks for mortality.
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