Does video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy for lung cancer provide improved functional outcomes compared with open lobectomy?

Handy, John R.; Asaph, James W.; Douville, Emory Charles; Ott, Gary Y.; Grunkemeier, Gary L.; Wu, YingXing
February 2010
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;Feb2010, Vol. 37 Issue 2, p451
Academic Journal
Abstract: Objective: We evaluated video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and open (OPEN) lobectomy for lung cancer and impact upon 6-month postoperative (postop) functional health status and quality of life. Methods: In this retrospective analysis of prospective, observational data, anatomic lobectomy with staging thoracic lymphadenectomy was performed with curative intent for lung cancer. OPEN consisted of either thoracotomy (TH) or median sternotomy (MS). Technique was selected on the basis of anatomic imperative (OPEN: larger or central; VATS smaller or peripheral tumours) and/or surgical skills (VATS lobectomy initiated in 2001). All patients completed the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF36) and Ferrans and Powers quality-of-life index (QLI) preoperatively (preop) and 6 months postop. Results: A total of 241 patients underwent lobectomy (OPEN, 192; VATS, 49). OPEN included MS 128 and TH 64. Comparison of MS and TH patient demographics, co-morbidities, pulmonary variables, intra-operative variables, stage and cell type, postop complications and 6-month clinical outcomes found no differences, allowing grouping together into OPEN. The VATS group had better pulmonary function testing (PFT), more adenocarcinoma and lower stage. The VATS and OPEN groups did not differ regarding operating time, postop complications and operative or 6-month mortality. The VATS group had less blood loss, transfusion, intra-operative fluid administration and shorter length of stay. Comparing within each group''s preop to 6-month postop data, VATS patients were either the same or better in all SF36 categories (physical functioning, role functioning – physical, role functioning – emotional, social functioning, bodily pain, mental health, energy and general health). The OPEN group, however, was significantly worse in SF36 categories physical functioning, role functioning – physical and social functioning. The preop and 6 months postop VATS versus OPEN QLI scores were not different. At 6 months postop, hospital re-admission and use of pain medication was less in the VATS group. In addition, the VATS group had better preservation of preop performance status. Conclusions: VATS lobectomy for curative lung cancer resection appears to provide a superior functional health recovery compared with OPEN techniques.


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