The role of the emphysema multidisciplinary team in a successful lung volume reduction surgery programme†

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2014 Dec;46(6):1021-6; discussion 1026. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezu129. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


Objectives: Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) for advanced emphysema is well established, with strong evidence from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial. However, there is still reluctance to offer the procedure, and many have looked for alternative, unproven treatments. The multidisciplinary approach has been well established in treatment of lung cancer and, more recently, in coronary artery surgery. We reviewed our practice to validate the role of our multidisciplinary team approach in our LVRS programme.

Methods: Our multidisciplinary approach employs respiratory physicians, radiologists and surgeons involved in case selection, who meet on a regular basis. Cases are selected on the basis of clinical presentation, imaging (radionuclide lung perfusion and computerized tomography) and respiratory physiology. Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data on 633 patients referred for lung volume reduction surgery between July 1995 and July 2013.

Results: Six hundred and thirty-three patients (422 male) were referred for LVRS, of whom 253 [178 male; median age 61 years (range 37-79 years)] underwent 292 LVRS procedures.There were 268 video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical procedures, of which 13 were one-stage bilateral procedures and 37 required a staged second side. Overall median hospital stay was 13 (4-197) days, during which 11 patients died. Prolonged hospital stay was associated with increasing age and with duration of air leak, which in turn was associated with diffusion capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 s.

Conclusions: The outcomes of a successful LVRS programme are not only dependent on good surgical technique and post-operative care. Case selection and work-up by a dedicated multidisciplinary approach for emphysema patients plays an invaluable and integral part in an LVRS programme.

Keywords: Advanced emphysema; Lung volume reduction surgery; Multidisciplinary team; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emphysema / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team
  • Pneumonectomy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / methods*
  • Young Adult