A new app has the ability to predict the chances of a patient developing an incisional hernia after abdominal surgery. The app utilizes big data for accessing a problem that is affecting one out of eight of the surgical patients. The app was validated after observing data collected from roughly 30,000 patients.
Incisional hernias happen post abdominal surgery at the point of the surgical wound where the abdomen contents are able to push through the muscle. They feel and look like a bulge that is formed under the skin where the scar tissue is located. They weaken the patients’ muscle, can be painful and often enlarge and get more symptomatic as time passes. Also, most of the patients with this type of hernia require another surgery that corrects the previous one and hence, enhances the risk of further complications and the patients find themselves caught in a cycle.
“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 Fischer.
Fischer along with his team examined the EHRs of 29,739 different patients that were undergoing the intra-abdominal, gynecologic, or urologic surgery between 2005 to 2016 at Penn. They found out that more than 1,100 patients ended up needing another surgery for repairing the incisional hernias.
The team’s analysis further identified the risk factors that would increase the chance of developing an incisional hernia for a patient. The most common among these was a history of having gone through abdominal surgery, that increased the risk by 87.5%. Smoking, a recent infection, and obesity were among other major risks.
The app will combine all the data and generate a risk score of real-time for each patient.