Feasibility and safety of nonintubated thoracoscopic lobectomy for geriatric lung cancer patients

Ann Thorac Surg. 2013 Feb;95(2):405-11. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.10.082. Epub 2012 Dec 13.


Background: The feasibility and safety of thoracoscopic lobectomy using anesthesia without tracheal intubation for treatment of geriatric non-small cell lung cancer patients is unclear, although it has been used with success in younger populations.

Methods: From 2009 through 2011, 84 consecutive patients aged 65 years or older with stage I or II non-small cell lung cancer underwent thoracoscopic lobectomy. Among them, 36 patients were treated without tracheal intubation using epidural anesthesia, intrathoracic vagal blockade, and sedation (nonintubated group). The other 48 patients were treated with single-lung ventilation under general anesthesia intubated with a double-lumen tube (intubated group). The perioperative profiles and short-term outcomes of the two groups were compared.

Results: The 84 patients were a mean age of 73.0 years (range, 65-87 years). Both groups had comparable preoperative demographic and cancer staging profiles. The anesthetic duration of the nonintubated group was shorter. Both groups had comparable operation duration and blood loss. One patient in the nonintubated group was converted to tracheal intubation due to persistent hypoxemia. Postoperatively, the two groups had comparable hospital stays, complication rates, and dissected lymph nodes. Stridor was noted in 3 patients and delirium in 4 in the intubated group, but none occurred in the nonintubated group.

Conclusions: Nonintubated thoracoscopic lobectomy is technically feasible and was as safe as thoracoscopic lobectomy performed with tracheal intubation in the geriatric lung cancer patients. Thoracoscopic lobectomy without tracheal intubation during anesthesia is a valid alternative for managing selected geriatric patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Pneumonectomy / adverse effects
  • Pneumonectomy / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thoracoscopy* / methods