Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the extent of reduction in maximum oxygen consumption in the early postoperative period after lung resection for lung carcinoma.
Methods: A total of 115 patients who underwent lung resection (95 lobectomies, 20 pneumonectomies) performed a maximal stair-climbing test the day before operation and the day of discharge from the hospital (8 +/- 3.3 days after the operation).
Results: The postoperative test showed a 15% reduction in maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) with respect to the preoperative test (Student's t test, p < 0.0001). This reduction was greater after pneumonectomy (21.4%) than after lobectomy (14%) (Student's t test, p < 0.05). A multiple regression analysis showed that the only significant independent predictors of both preoperative and postoperative VO2max were the age of the patient and the level of arterial oxygen content.
Conclusions: The early postoperative reduction in VO2max was greater after pneumonectomy than after lobectomy and the exercise performance was significantly influenced by the level of arterial oxygen content both before and early after the operation.