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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Nov;144(5):1139-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.07.083.

Survival and quality of life at least 1 year after pneumonectomy.

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  • 1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.



Quality of life after pulmonary resection is becoming an increasingly important part of the conversation between patients and surgeons. Pneumonectomy is often called a disease. The objective of this study was to assess the physical and mental aspects of patients' quality of life at least 1 year after pneumonectomy.


Quality of life was ascertained using the Short Form-12 (SF-12) survey on a consecutive series of patients who were at least 1 year postoperative from a pneumonectomy. Both the physical and mental component scores of the quality-of-life survey were obtained and compared.


There were 152 patients who underwent pneumonectomy between January 1997 and December 2010 by the same surgeon (104 for non-small cell lung cancer); 111 patients met the eligibility criteria. Mean survival was 3.4 years and the overall 5-year Kaplan-Meier survival was 38%. Responses to the quality-of-life survey were obtained in 108 of 111 patients (98%) who were at least 1 year postoperative. The overall quality-of-life score was comparable with that of the healthy population and patients with chronic diseases. The mean physical component score was significantly lower than that of the healthy population score (P = .04); the mental quality-of-life score was higher than those for patients with certain chronic diseases such as liver or kidney disease (P = .05). After multivariate analysis, only age remained a significant predictor of the physical component score.


Pneumonectomy is tolerated in carefully selected patients. The physical quality-of-life score 1 year after resection is significantly lower than the average population, yet the mental score in these patients is higher. Future studies on quality of life should be considered for all medical therapies, and stratification of the mental score from the physical score should be reported.

Copyright © 2012 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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