Background: Failure to rescue (FTR) is a quality-of-care indicator in pancreatic surgery, but may also identify patients who may not tolerate major postoperative complications despite being treated with best available care. Previous studies found that high visceral adipose tissue-to-skeletal muscle ratio is associated with poor outcomes following pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD). The aim of the study is to assess the impact of sarcopenic obesity on occurrence of FTR from major complications in cancer patients undergoing PD. Methods: Prospectively collected data from three high-volume hospitals were reviewed. Total abdominal muscle area (TAMA) and visceral fat area (VFA) were assessed at preoperative staging computed tomography scan. Sarcopenic obesity was defined as high VFA/TAMA ratio. FTR was defined as postoperative mortality following major complication. Results: 120 patients with major complications were included. FTR occurred in 23 (19.2%) patients. The “seminal” complications leading to FTR were pancreatic or biliary fistula-related sepsis (n = 14), postoperative pancreatic fistula (POPF)-related hemorrhage (n = 5), and duodenojejunal anastomosis leak-related sepsis (n = 1). On univariate analysis, older age [odds ratio (OR) 3.5, p = 0.034], American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score 3+ (OR 4.2, p = 0.005), cardiovascular disease (OR 3.3, p = 0.013), low serum albumin (OR 2.6, p = 0.042), sarcopenic obesity (OR 4.2, p = 0.009), POPF (OR 3.1, p = 0.027), and cardiorespiratory complications (OR 3.7, p = 0.011) were significantly associated with FTR. On multivariate analysis, sarcopenic obesity [OR 5.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.6–20.7, p = 0.008], ASA score 3+ (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.2–14.3, p = 0.025), and pancreatic fistula (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.0–10.2, p = 0.045) were independently associated with FTR. Conclusion: Sarcopenic obesity, low preoperative physical status, and occurrence of pancreatic fistula are associated with significantly higher risk of FTR from major complications after PD.
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