Development of a Risk Score to Predict Anastomotic Leak After Left-Sided Colectomy: Which Patients Warrant Diversion?

Nicholas P. McKenna, Katherine A. Bews, Robert R. Cima, Cynthia S. Crowson, Elizabeth B. Habermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Anastomotic leak is a feared complication after left-sided colectomy, but its risk can potentially be reduced with the use of a diverting ostomy. However, an ostomy has its own associated negative sequelae; therefore, it is critical to appropriately identify patients to divert. This is difficult in practice since many risk factors for anastomotic leak exist and outside factors bias this decision. We aimed to develop and validate a risk score to predict an individual’s risk of anastomotic leak and aid in the decision. Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Colectomy Targeted PUF was queried from 2012 to 2016 for patients undergoing elective left-sided resection for malignancy, benign neoplasm, or diverticular disease. Multivariable logistic regression identified predictors of anastomotic leak in non-diverted patients, and a risk score was developed and validated. Results: 38,475 patients underwent resection with an overall anastomotic leak rate of 3%. Independent risk factors for anastomotic leak included younger age, male sex, tobacco use, and omission of combined bowel preparation. A risk score incorporating independent predictors demonstrated excellent calibration. There was strong visual correspondence between predicted and observed anastomotic leak rates. 3960 patients underwent resection with diversion, yet over half of these patients had a predicted leak rate of less than 4%. Conclusion: A novel risk score can be used to stratify patients according to anastomotic leak risk after elective left-sided resection. Intraoperative calculation of scores for patients can help guide surgical decision-making in both diverting the highest risk patients and avoiding diversion in low-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-143
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Anastomotic leak
  • Colectomy
  • Risk score
  • Temporary stoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a Risk Score to Predict Anastomotic Leak After Left-Sided Colectomy: Which Patients Warrant Diversion?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this