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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2008 Jan;33(1):95-8. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Preoperative pulmonary rehabilitation in patients undergoing lung resection for non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Section of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgical Sciences, University Hospital of Parma, Parma, Italy.



The impact of short-term preoperative pulmonary rehabilitation on exercise capacity of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease undergoing lobectomy for non-small cell lung cancer is evaluated.


A prospective observational study was designed. Inclusion criteria consisted of an indication to lung resection because of a clinical stage I or II non-small cell lung cancer and a chronic obstructive disease on preoperative pulmonary function test. In such conditions, maximal oxygen consumption by a cardio-pulmonary exercise test was evaluated; when this resulted as being < or =15 ml/kg/min a pulmonary rehabilitation programme lasting 4 weeks was considered. Twelve patients fulfilled inclusion criteria, completed the preoperative rehabilitation programme and underwent a new functional evaluation prior to surgery. The postoperative record of these patients was collected.


On completion of pulmonary rehabilitation, the resting pulmonary function test and diffuse lung capacity of patients was unchanged, whereas the exercise performance was found to have significantly improved; the mean increase in maximal oxygen consumption proved to be at 2.8 ml/kg/min (p<0.01). Eleven patients underwent lobectomy; no postoperative mortality was noted and mean hospital stay was 17 days. Postoperative pulmonary complication was recorded in 8 patients.


Short-term preoperative pulmonary rehabilitation could improve the exercise capacity of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who are candidates for lung resection for non-small cell lung cancer.

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