Risk factors for postoperative sepsis in laparoscopic gastric bypass

L. J. Blair, C. R. Huntington, T. C. Cox, T. Prasad, A. E. Lincourt, K. S. Gersin, B. T. Heniford, V. A. Augenstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Postoperative sepsis is a rare but serious complication following elective surgery. The purpose of this study was to identify the rate of postoperative sepsis following elective laparoscopic gastric bypass (LGBP) and to identify patients’ modifiable, preoperative risk factors. Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was queried from 2005 to 2013 for factors associated with the development of postoperative sepsis following elective LGBP. Patients who developed sepsis were compared to those who did not. Results were analyzed using the Chi-square test for categorical variables and Wilcoxon two-sample test for continuous variables. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was utilized to calculate adjusted odds ratios for factors contributing to sepsis. Results: During the study period, 66,838 patients underwent LGBP. Of those, 546 patients developed postoperative sepsis (0.82 %). The development of sepsis was associated with increased operative time (161 ± 77.8 vs. 135.10 ± 56.5 min; p < 0.0001) and a greater number of preoperative comorbidities, including diabetes (39.6 vs. 30.6 %; p < 0.0001), hypertension requiring medication (65.2 vs. 54 %; p < 0.0001), current tobacco use (16.7 vs. 11.5 %; p = 0.0002), and increased pack-year history of smoking (8.6 ± 18.3 vs. 5.6 ± 14.2; p = 0.0006), and the Charlson Comorbidity Index (0.51 ± 0.74 vs. 0.35 ± 0.57, p < 0.0001). Sepsis resulted in an increased length of stay (10.1 ± 14.4 vs. 2.4 ± 4.8 days; p < 0.0001) and a 30 times greater chance of 30-day mortality (4.03 vs. 0.11 %, p < 0.0001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that current smokers had a 63 % greater chance of developing sepsis compared to non-smokers, controlling for age, race, gender, BMI, and CCI score (OR 1.63, 95 % CI 1.23–2.14; p = 0.0006). Conclusions: Laparoscopic gastric bypass is uncommonly associated with postoperative sepsis. When it occurs, it portends a 30 times increased risk of death. A patient history of diabetes, hypertension, and increasing pack-years of smoking portend an increased risk of sepsis. Current smoking status, a preoperative modifiable risk factor, is independently associated with the chance of postoperative sepsis. Preoperative patient optimization and risk reduction should be a priority for elective surgery, and patients should be encouraged to stop smoking prior to gastric bypass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1293
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Complications
  • Gastric bypass
  • Mortality
  • Smoking


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