Background: Patients treated surgically for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represent a heterogeneous group. Adjusting for patient case mix and complexity of surgery is essential if reporting outcomes represent surgical performance and quality of care. Methods: A case note audit totaling 1075 patients receiving 1218 operations done for HNSCC in 4 cancer networks was completed. Logistic regression, decision tree analysis, an artificial neural network, and Naïve Bayes Classifier were used to adjust for patient case-mix using pertinent preoperative variables. Results: Thirty-day complication rates varied widely (34%-51%; P <.015) between units. The predictive models allowed risk stratification. The artificial neural network demonstrated the best predictive performance (area under the curve [AUC] 0.85). Conclusion: Early postoperative complications are a measurable outcome that can be used to benchmark surgical performance and quality of care. Surgical outcome reporting in national clinical audits should be taking account of the patient case mix.
- head and neck
- squamous cell carcinoma