Bilateral lung volume reduction surgery for advanced emphysema. A comparison of median sternotomy and thoracoscopic approaches.

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STUDY OBJECTIVES: To compare short-term outcomes following bilateral lung volume reduction surgery performed by median sternotomy (MS) and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).

METHODS: Bilateral lung volume reduction surgery was performed by MS in 80 patients and by VATS in 40. All patients underwent preoperative assessment with pulmonary function testing, arterial blood gas determination, and 6-min walk test (6MWT). Pulmonary function testing and 6MWT were repeated at 3 to 6 months postoperatively.

RESULTS: The mean age of the VATS group was lower than that of the MS group (59.3 +/- 9.4 vs 62.4 +/- 6.9 years; p = 0.001), but there were no differences in baseline functional parameters of disease severity (FEV1, FVC, residual volume [RV], arterial PCO2, or 6MWT). All patients in both groups were extubated at the completion of surgery, but 17.5% of patients in the MS group and 2.5% in the VATS group (p = 0.02) subsequently required reintubation at some point during the postoperative course. Thirty-day operative mortality was 4.2% for the MS group and 2.5% for the VATS group (p = not significant). However, total in-hospital mortality was 13.8% for the MS group, while it remained 2.5% for the VATS group (p = 0.05). Mortality was largely confined to patients 65 years of age or older. There was no significant difference in duration of air leaks or length of hospital stay between the two groups. Functional outcomes achieved with the two techniques were similar. Specifically, there was no difference between the two groups in mean postoperative FEV1, FVC, RV, or 6MWT, or in the magnitude of change in these parameters over preoperative values.

CONCLUSIONS: Bilateral lung volume reduction surgery performed by either MS and VATS approaches leads to similar improvements in pulmonary function and exercise tolerance. VATS is associated with a significantly lower incidence of respiratory failure and a trend toward decreased in-hospital mortality and may be the preferred technique, particularly for high-risk patients.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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