Operations without complications

Research on biomarkers to predict surgical risk

Surgery can lead to unexpected complications. The consequences can be very serious and permanently affect a patient’s quality of life.

We investigate which biomarkers represent this risk and provide new insight into mechanisms of complications.

Biomarker tests

Our research questions

Predicting surgical risk

Can biomarkers predict surgical risk more accurately?

In the Netherlands, over half a million major surgical procedures requiring hospitalization are performed each year. Although mortality risk of surgery is low, complications are common. Examples of complications are: wound infection, sepsis, pneumonia and myocardial infarction. Complications can have major consequences on a patient’s health and quality of life.

Doctors usually communicate surgical risk trough mortality figures. In general, risk of postoperative mortality is low. Other health risks associated with surgery are often less clear.

BIGPROMISE investigates the mechanisms of complications after major surgery and aims to reduce the number, severity and consequences of complications.

Biobank & AI

Can we develop new biomarkers to prevent complications?

What mechanisms in the body lead to complications after surgery? The answers will help us to predict surgical risk more accurately and improve early detection and treatment of complications.

BIGPROMISE analyses serum biomarkers on multiple timepoints during surgery. Biomarkers can indicate organ or tissue damage. The results will help us to identify harmful processes and improve our understanding of complications after surgery.

BIGPROMISE creates a biobank that contains blood samples for future biomarker discovery. We will collect blood samples from 5,000 surgical patients, and perform 1,250,000 biomarker tests using 50 biomarkers. A large collection of patient data and blood samples improves the reliability of our scientific results.

The biobank allows us to investigate whether new biomarkers have added value in medical practice.

Detecting and treating complications

Do early interventions lead to better health after surgery?

Surgery involves a physical stress response to limit tissue damage and promote healing. The stress response to surgery plays a role in the occurrence of complications, but differs greatly between patients. An older person with chronic disease will respond differently to surgery compared to someone who’s healthy.

Biomarkers can predict surgical stress. Better risk assessments help to anticipate on potential complications and treat them quicker. The latter is important because it can take days before surgical complications are detected.

Early treatment reduces the negative consequences of complications. Less impact on quality of life and, ultimately, health care related costs.

Our team