Background A retrospective study was performed at some high-volume institutions to clarify the prognostic significance of postoperative complications in patients who had undergone hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). No published studies have investigated the relationship between postoperative complications of Clavien-Dindo grade III or more and prognosis in patients who have undergone hepatic resection. Methods Patient data were retrospectively collected for 966 consecutive patients who had undergone hepatectomy for HCC with curative intent between January 2004 and December 2012. The patients were assigned to two groups according to the presence of postoperative complications. Clinicopathologic, surgical outcome, and long-term survival data were analyzed. Results Hospital deaths occurred in nine patients (0.9%). Postoperative complications were identified in 165 patients (17.1%). Compared with patients without complications, patients with complications had significantly larger tumors, more advanced-stage tumors, more poorly differentiated tumors, more intrahepatic metastasis, longer operation time, greater blood loss, more blood transfusion, and more anatomic resection and combined resection. The overall 5-y survival rates were 48.6% in patients with postoperative complications and 73.2% in patients without them. The 5-y recurrence-free survival rates were 23.7% in patients with postoperative complications and 36.7% in patients without them. Multivariate analysis revealed that longer operation time and lower serum albumin level of albumin were independent predictive factors for occurrence of postoperative complications. Conclusions In patients with HCC, posthepatectomy complications are predictive of a worse overall survival, even when adjustments have been made for other known predictors.
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