Association between hypoalbuminemia and surgical site infection in vulvar cancers

Stephanie A. Sullivan*, Linda Van Le, Abigail L. Liberty, John T. Soper, Emma L. Barber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective To determine if preoperative hypoalbuminemia is associated with postoperative wound complications among patients with vulvar cancer. Methods The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was queried for cases of vulvar cancer undergoing vulvectomy with or without lymphadenectomy (LND) from 2008 to 2013. Primary outcome was major wound complication. Secondary outcome was minor wound complication. Hypoalbuminemia was defined as albumin < 3.5 g/dL. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression were used for analysis. Results Of 777 vulvar cancer patients, 514 (66.2%) had vulvar surgery alone and 263 (30.3%) had a LND. Median age was 66 (range 20–90) and median BMI was 28.9 kg/m2 (range 14.3–65.5). The incidence of wound complication was 10.4% (81/777) with 48 minor and 39 major complications. There was no difference in major wound complications when a LND was performed (p = 1.0). Preoperative albumin was recorded in 429 patients (55.2%). Patients with hypoalbuminemia were more likely to have a major wound complication (OR 2.9 95% CI 1.1–7.3, p = 0.02), even after adjusting for BMI, age, preoperative hematocrit, and diabetes (aOR 2.7 95% CI 1.1–7.1, p = 0.04). In bivariable analysis, age, diabetes, and BMI were not associated with wound complication. Patients with a wound infection had 10 times the odds of being readmitted within 30 days (OR 9.5, 95% CI 4.9–18.4, p < 0.01). Conclusions Low preoperative albumin is associated with major postoperative wound complications in women undergoing surgery for vulvar cancer. When obtaining informed consent, patients with low albumin should be counseled regarding higher risks of postoperative wound complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-439
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Albumin
  • Infection
  • Postoperative
  • Readmission
  • Vulvar
  • Wound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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