Changes in pulmonary function in lung cancer patients after video-assisted thoracic surgery

Ann Thorac Surg. 2015 Jan;99(1):210-7. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2014.07.066. Epub 2014 Nov 15.


Background: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is widely performed in patients with resectable non-small cell lung cancer. However, it is unknown whether VATS sublobar resection has advantages compared with VATS lobectomy in preserving pulmonary function.

Methods: Three hundred patients with non-small cell lung cancer who underwent VATS were enrolled. Pulmonary function tests were performed three times: preoperatively, and at 3 and 12 months postoperatively. Pulmonary function was compared between the VATS lobectomy group (n = 227) and the VATS sublobar resection group (n = 73).

Results: The VATS sublobar resection group had greater preserved pulmonary function than the VATS lobectomy group at 3 and 12 months postoperatively (p < 0.001). However, a VATS lobectomy of the right upper or right middle lobe revealed no difference in forced vital capacity (-1.21% versus -1.45%; p = 0.88) or the diffusion capacity of carbon monoxide (-3.99% versus -2.45%; p = 0.61) compared with VATS sublobar resection after 12 months. In those who underwent VATS of the right lower lobe, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (-8.60% versus -3.69%; p = 0.12) was not different between the two groups after 12 months. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery lobectomy of the left upper or left lower lobe resulted in lower pulmonary function than VATS sublobar resection (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Patients with non-small cell lung cancer who underwent VATS sublobar resection demonstrated greater pulmonary function than those who underwent VATS lobectomy. However, in right-side VATS lobectomy, some differences dissipated at 1 year.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung / surgery*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonectomy / methods*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Recovery of Function
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted*