Researchers have created an app that may predict the likelihood of developing an incisional hernia following an abdominal surgery, using Big Data analytics to potentially help address a problem effects one out of every eight of these surgical patients.
The team developed the app utilising electronic health records (EHR) to identify the most common risk factors for patients, as well as which surgeries most commonly result in incisional hernias across multiple specialties.
“Our tool presents the risk for each case at the point of care, giving surgeons and patients the chance to consider this outcome ahead of time and incorporate data into the decision-making process,” said co-author John P. Fischer from the University of Pennsylvania.
Incisional hernias occur after abdominal surgery at the site of the surgical wound when the contents of the abdomen can push through the muscle. For the study, presented at the 139th American Surgical Association Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, the team analysed the EHRs of 29,739 patients undergoing intra-abdominal, urologic, or gynecological surgery at Penn between January 2005 and June 2016.
They found more than 1,100 of these patients (3.8 per cent) ended up requiring a second surgery following the primary operation to repair the incisional hernias. Colorectal surgeries were the most common specialty associated with incision hernias (7.7 per cent of cases), followed by vascular (5.2 per cent), bariatric (4.8 per cent), and transplant (4.5 per cent).
The analysis also identified risk factors that made a patient more likely to develop an incisional hernia.
The most common was a history of abdominal surgery, which increased the likelihood in 87.5 per cent of cases. That was followed by a history of smoking and a recent infection (75 per cent for both). Obesity was also a significant risk, though it was weighted less than other factors.