Developing a VATS lobectomy programme — can VATS lobectomy be taught?

Ferguson, Jonathan; Walker, William
May 2006
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;May2006, Vol. 29 Issue 5, p806
Academic Journal
Abstract: Objective: Although VATS lobectomy has been demonstrated to be safe and effective, the technique is not widely practiced. This may, in part, reflect difficulty in acquiring appropriate skills. We have evaluated the effect of experience and training on surgical outcomes during the development and establishment of a VATS lobectomy programme. Methods: Data were collected prospectively on 276 consecutive VATS lobectomies under the care of a single consultant as either the primary surgeon or supervising four trainees. The series was divided into cohorts of 46 patients. These comprised one trainee cohort and five sequential consultant cohorts. Statistical analysis utilised standard tests of significance. Results: Increasing experience with the VATS lobectomy programme was associated with a significant reduction in operating time but intraoperative blood loss and postoperative stay were not influenced by increasing consultant surgical experience. Training was associated with a mean increase of 22min operative time (p =0.0005) but no increase in intraoperative blood loss, morbidity, mortality or postoperative stay. The 46 trainee operative times were similar to the first 46 consultant cases. Conclusions: VATS lobectomy can be safely taught to trainee thoracic surgeons. However, in view of the limited number of centres undertaking VATS lobectomy, training should be coordinated at a national level to concentrate experience and improve uptake of this technique.


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