Introduction: The benefits of a rehabilitation program before surgical lung cancer resection remain to be defined. The purpose of this prospective observational study was to assess the effects of rehabilitation together with the use of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in patients who were at a high operative risk.
Methods: Between January 2010 and June 2011, 20 consecutive patients (16 males, four females, mean age: 66 years [44-79]) with a clinical N0 non-small cell lung cancer were included. Eligibility criteria were predicted post-operative respiratory function (FEV1, VO2 max) below the guideline thresholds for eligibility for surgical resection and/or associated with severe co-morbidities. The protocol included a cardiorespiratory rehabilitation program and 3 hours of NIV each day. Functional tests were repeated after 3 weeks of therapy.
Results: Participants displayed a significant increase in their FEV1 and VO2 max, which allowed surgical resection to go ahead in all patients (lobectomy, n=15; pneumonectomy, n=3; bilobectomy, n=2). The morbidity rate was 20% (acute renal failure, n=2; pneumonia, n=1; haemothorax, n=1). The mortality rate was 5% (myocardial infarction, n=1). Further postoperative rehabilitation allowed a return at home in 19 patients after a mean hospital stay of 11 days.
Conclusion: Pulmonary rehabilitation associated with a period of preoperative NIV allows surgery to be performed in patients who are not initially eligible for resection. An evaluation of long-term outcomes survival in comparison to non-surgical therapies is necessary.
Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.