Clinical characteristics and long-term outcome of lung lobe torsions in cats: a review of 10 cases (2000-2021)

J Feline Med Surg. 2022 Oct;24(10):1072-1080. doi: 10.1177/1098612X211054816. Epub 2021 Nov 1.


Case series summary: Lung lobe torsion is rare in cats. The aim of this multi-institution retrospective study was to describe clinical and diagnostic findings, treatments and outcomes of lung lobe torsion (LLT) in 10 cats. Dyspnoea and tachypnoea were the most common clinical signs. Pleural effusion was present in nine cats at presentation. Fluid analysis confirmed chylothorax in three cats. Nine cats underwent CT and five cats had thoracic radiographs taken. A diagnosis was made preoperatively in six cats, while in the other four cats it was made at exploratory thoracotomy. Affected lung lobes were the right cranial (n = 4/11), left cranial (n = 4/11) and right middle (n = 3/11). One cat had a concurrent torsion of two lung lobes. Lung lobectomy was successfully performed in all cases. Based on clinical, diagnostic and lung histopathology findings, three cats had idiopathic and seven cats secondary LLT. Intraoperative complications included hypotension and hypothermia in four and five cats, respectively. Postoperative complications occurred in six cats and lead to euthanasia or death in four cats, whereas complications resolved in the other two cats. Three cats were euthanased within 5 weeks of discharge. For the three cats surviving long term, including one euthanased at 252 days postoperatively, owner-described outcomes and quality of life were considered good to excellent.

Relevance and novel information: Secondary LLT associated with underlying thoracic pathology was associated with high complication rates and poor outcomes. Long-term outcomes of cats undergoing surgery for LLT and surviving the perioperative period were deemed good to excellent.

Keywords: Lung lobe torsion; chylothorax; computed tomography; lung lobectomy; pleural effusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Cat Diseases* / pathology
  • Cat Diseases* / surgery
  • Cats
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / surgery
  • Lung Diseases* / veterinary
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms* / veterinary
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Torsion Abnormality / etiology
  • Torsion Abnormality / surgery
  • Torsion Abnormality / veterinary