Multilevel Body Composition Analysis on Chest Computed Tomography Predicts Hospital Length of Stay and Complications After Lobectomy for Lung Cancer: A Multicenter Study

Ann Surg. 2022 May 1;275(5):e708-e715. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000004040. Epub 2020 Jul 8.


Objective: To investigate the impact of thoracic body composition on outcomes after lobectomy for lung cancer.

Summary and background data: Preoperative identification of patients at risk for adverse outcomes permits treatment modification. The impact of body composition on lung resection outcomes has not been investigated in a multicenter setting.

Methods: A total of 958 consecutive patients undergoing lobectomy for lung cancer at 3 centers from 2014 to 2017 were retrospectively analyzed. Muscle and adipose tissue cross-sectional area at the fifth, eighth, and tenth thoracic vertebral body was quantified. Prospectively collected outcomes from a national database were abstracted to characterize the association between sums of muscle and adipose tissue and hospital length of stay (LOS), number of any postoperative complications, and number of respiratory postoperative complications using multivariate regression. A priori determined covariates were forced expiratory volume in 1 second and diffusion capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide predicted, age, sex, body mass index, race, surgical approach, smoking status, Zubrod and American Society of Anesthesiologists scores.

Results: Mean patient age was 67 years, body mass index 27.4 kg/m2 and 65% had stage i disease. Sixty-three percent underwent minimally invasive lobectomy. Median LOS was 4 days and 34% of patients experienced complications. Muscle (using 30 cm2 increments) was an independent predictor of LOS (adjusted coefficient 0.972; P = 0.002), any postoperative complications (odds ratio 0.897; P = 0.007) and postoperative respiratory complications (odds ratio 0.860; P = 0.010). Sarcopenic obesity was also associated with LOS and adverse outcomes.

Conclusions: Body composition on preoperative chest computed tomography is an independent predictor of LOS and postoperative complications after lobectomy for lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Lung Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Pneumonectomy* / adverse effects
  • Pneumonectomy* / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed