Lobar torsion after pulmonary resection: presentation and outcome

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2001 Dec;122(6):1091-3. doi: 10.1067/mtc.2001.117839.


Objective: We reviewed our experience on postoperative lobar torsion.

Methods: Between January 1972 and January 1998, 7887 patients underwent pulmonary resection at our institution. Seven (0.089%; 4 women and 3 men; median age, 68 years) patients required surgical reintervention for lobar torsion.

Results: The indications for pulmonary resection were non-small cell carcinoma in 5 patients, lymphoma in 1 patient, and metastatic prostate carcinoma in 1 patient. The right upper lobe was resected in 3 patients, the left lower lobe in 2 patients, and the right middle and right lower lobe in 1 patient each. Postoperative radiographs demonstrated pulmonary infiltrates and volume loss in 5 patients and complete opacification in 2 patients. The median white blood cell count was 10.6 x 10(9) cells/L (range, 9.3-14.9 x 10(9) cells/L), and the median peak temperature was 38.4 degrees C (range, 37.8 degrees C-40.2 degrees C) during the first 48 hours postoperatively. The diagnosis of lobar torsion was made a median of 10 days (range, 2-14 days) after the initial operation; 4 patients underwent completion pneumonectomy, and 3 had lobectomy. Median hospitalization was 24 days and ranged from 10 to 56 days. There were no postoperative deaths. Complications after reoperation included respiratory failure in 2 patients, atrial arrhythmia in 2 patients, and empyema, urinary tract infection, and a transient ischemic attack in 1 patient each.

Conclusions: Lobar torsion represents a difficult diagnostic dilemma in the early postoperative period after pulmonary resection. A high index of suspicion is necessary to avoid a delay in treatment. Late diagnosis results in further pulmonary resection and prolonged hospitalization in the majority of cases.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases / surgery*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis*
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Torsion Abnormality / diagnosis
  • Torsion Abnormality / surgery