Incidence of Serious Complications after Uvulopalatopharyngloplasty

Eric J. Kezirian, Edward M. Weaver, Bevan Yueh, Richard A. Deyo, Shukri F. Khuri, Jennifer Daley, William Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Objectives: Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is the most common surgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Anatomic and physiologic abnormalities associated with OSA can make perioperative management difficult. Only single-site case series provide current estimates of the incidence of perioperative complications, with a pooled crude serious complication rate of 3.5% and a crude mortality rate of 0.4%. The primary objective of this study was to calculate the incidence of perioperative morbidity and mortality in a large, multisite cohort of UPPP patients. Study Design: Prospective cohort study of adults undergoing inpatient UPPP with or without other concurrent procedures Methods: The serious complication and 30-day mortality rates were calculated from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database of prospectively collected outcomes of all VA inpatient surgeries nationally 1991 to 2001. Serious complications were defined by 15 specific life-threatening complications. Deaths were captured whether the patient was in the hospital or discharged. Results: Veteran patients (n = 3130) had a mean age of 50 years and were predominantly male (97%). The serious nonfatal complication rate was 1.5% (47/3,130) (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1%, 1.9%). The 36-day mortality rate was 6.2% (7/3130) (95% CI 0.1%, 0.4%). There was no significant effect of year of surgery or patient age on the risk of serious complication or death. Conclusion: The incidence of serious nonfatal complications and 30-day mortality after UPPP are 1.5% and 0.2%, respectively, in a large cohort of UPPP patients at veteran hospitals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-453
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Mortality
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Palate surgery
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty
  • VA
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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