Complication Risk in Ventral Skull Base Surgery Based on Preoperative Hematocrit

Liam S. Flanagan, Chris B. Choi, Mehdi S. Lemdani, Aakash Shah, Aksha Parray, Donata Sukyte-Raube, Christina H. Fang, Soly Baredes, Jean Anderson Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis: Preoperative anemia has been shown to be a predictor of complications in different surgeries. This has not been exclusively studied in skull base surgery. This study investigates the impact of preoperative hematocrit on complications following ventral skull base (VSB) surgery. Study Design: Retrospective database review. Methods: The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program was queried for all cases of VSB surgery from 2005 to 2015. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to investigate the impact of preoperative anemia on complications following VSB procedures. Results: 3,053 patients meeting inclusion criteria were identified. On univariate analysis, low hematocrit was found in 39.7% of patients and was associated with increased mean age (55.71 vs. 53.25 years), male gender (63.6% vs. 36.4%), and Black race (18.5% vs. 10.9%). Preoperative anemia was also associated with increased incidences of postoperative pneumonia, blood transfusions, sepsis, medical complications, surgical complications, extended length of hospital stay (LOS), and mortality. On multivariate analysis, associations between low preoperative hematocrit and perioperative transfusions (odds ratio [OR] 2.57, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.88–3.50, P <.001), total surgical complications (OR 2.12, 95% CI 1.60–2.80, P <.001), and extended LOS (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.05–1.57, P =.013) remained significant. Conclusions: Low preoperative hematocrit is associated with increased risk of postoperative complications and extended LOS in patients undergoing VSB surgery. This study highlights the importance of careful preoperative assessment and management of anemia in these patients. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 132:1707–1713, 2022.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1707-1713
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • complication risk
  • head and neck surgery
  • hematocrit
  • Ventral skull base

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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