A number of studies have shown that medical calculators are extremely popular tools on mobile devices. The ability to quickly access and accurately calculate a useful result at the point of care is highly attractive to many healthcare professionals. However, many of these calculators omit the formula to calculate surgical risk of morbidity and mortality.

Surgical Risk Calculator, an app from Cardiff Medical Apps, is designed to allow surgeons to calculate just that using the P-POSSUM operative mortality score system.

Assessing surgical risk is often notoriously difficult and reliant on a number of patient dependent factors. POSSUM (Physiological and Operative Severity Score for the enUmeration of Mortality and morbidity) uses a physiological score and an operative severity score to calculate risks of mortality and morbidity.

In a previous small study it was found that Portsmouth POSSUM (P-POSSUM; a modification of the POSSUM system) provided a more accurate prediction of mortality. As a result, the P-POSSUM is one of the most widely used and validated scoring systems [BJS article here].

The calculator assesses surgical risk on the basis of 12 physiological and 6 operative parameters which are each given an independent weighting.

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The app itself is incredibly simple. There are three tabs–a disclaimer, an introduction and the calculator itself.

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  • Free


  • Simple, straightforward easy to use calculator based on a validated surgical risk assessment tool


  • Layout of the app is not great with a much greater emphasis on the disclaimer than the calculator
  • Very basic, little information regarding surgical risk assessment or other content–only one formula included
  • No update for iPhone 5(s) screen


  • Overall, Surgical Risk calculator is a simple and basic calculator based on a validated scoring system to assess operative mortality and morbidity. It does the proposed task, though, it could be substantially better and more useful.

iTunes Link

Rating: (1 to 5 stars): 2/5

  1. User Interface: 1/5
  2. Multimedia usage: 1/5
  3. Price: 5/5
  4. Real world applicability: 3/5