Surgeon Intuition Does Not Contribute to Prediction of Postsurgical Complications

Intuition model did not perform as well as that trained on National Surgical Quality Improvement Program clinical data
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WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Surgeon intuition does not perform as well as a clinical risk calculator for predicting postoperative complications, according to a study published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Jayson S. Marwaha, M.D., from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues compared the predictive utility of surgeon intuition and a risk calculator derived from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP). From October 2021 to September 2022, surgeons were surveyed immediately before performing surgery to assess the risk for postoperative complications for 216 patients. Clinical data were obtained from the ACS NSQIP for 9,182 patients who underwent general surgery from January 2017 to September 2022.

The researchers found that a model trained on clinical data alone had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.83 for predicting any complication, while the AUC was 0.70 for a model trained only on preoperative surgeon intuition. The AUC was 0.83 for a model trained on surgeon intuition and a subset of clinical predictors.

"The value of surgical intuition for preoperative prediction was not improved by including human intuition in the model and this suggests that, at least for most presurgical prediction, the information that is gathered by the NSQIP risk calculator is better at predicting those outcomes than the gut feeling that surgeons have when looking at patients," a coauthor said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text

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