Pneumonectomy: quality of life and long-term results

Minerva Chir. 2012 Jun;67(3):219-26.
[Article in English, Italian]


Aim: Pneumonectomy is the standard surgery for resectable locally advanced lung cancer. Objectives of this study were: 1) to assess the overall survival; 2) to evaluate the pulmonary and cardiac function impairment; 3) to monitor quality of life (QoL) in a consecutive series of patients undergoing pneumonectomy, defining the potential risk factors of a poor prognosis.

Methods: From January 2003 to March 2010, 71 patients undergoing pneumonectomy for lung cancer or mesothelioma were prospectively enrolled in this study. Twenty-six patients underwent right pneumonectomy (2 of them underwent intrapericardial pneumonectomy), 31 left pneumonectomy (3 of them underwent intrapericardial pneumonectomy), 3 extended pneumonectomy, 3 extrapleural pneumonectomy and 5 patients underwent completion pneumonectomy. Three patients were not included in the study for early postoperative deaths (4.3%). All patients underwent complete preoperative assessment and one year after surgery. QoL was assessed by a questionnaire.

Results: One and five-year survival rate was 93% (N.=63) and 20% (N.=14), respectively. Mean values of FEV1 decreased from 2.59±0.75 L to 1.8±0.72 L (P<0.001). One year after surgery all patients showed moderate tricuspid valve insufficiency, PASP significantly higher and right ventricular free wall thickness moderately increased. An increased negative effect was recorded in the QoL scores with P<0.001. Three clinical and surgical parameters were identified as risk or protective factors for the survival outcome.

Conclusion: Postoperative mortality (4.3%) and five-year survival (20%) after pneumonectomy seem to be satisfactory. Late cardiopulmonary insufficiency is uncommon and acceptable QoL is still achievable.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Heart Function Tests
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors