Reid et al reported the HNCA (Head and Neck Cancer) comorbidity index for patients with head and neck cancer. The authors are from the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NIH.


The HNCA index was based on an initial selection of the 20 conditions most prevalent in the SEER/HCFA population.


Conditions weighted 1 point if present:

(1) pneumonia

(2) urinary tract infection (UTI)

(3) diabetes mellitus

(4) congestive heart failure (CHF)

(5) chronic pulmonary disease (COPD, other)

(6) electrolyte imbalance


Conditions weighted 2 points if present:

(1) cerebrovascular disease (stroke, TIA, etc)

(2) gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding


HNCA index =

= SUM(points for all of the conditions present)



• minimum index: 0

• maximum index: 10

• The higher the index the greater the comorbidity.

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