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Ann Thorac Surg. 1996 Mar;61(3):977-82.

Prospective analysis of pneumonectomy: risk factors for major morbidity and cardiac dysrhythmias.

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  • 1Division of Thoracic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02115, USA.



Data were acquired prospectively on 136 consecutive patients undergoing pneumonectomy for cancer from 1988 to 1993, to define factors that increase the risk of major morbidity and postoperative cardiac dysrhythmias.


There were 81 patients (60%) with non-small cell lung cancer (standard pneumonectomy) and 55 patients (40%) with malignant pleural mesothelioma (extrapleural pneumonectomy).


Four perioperative deaths occurred (3%) with no identifiable associated risk factors. Twenty-three patients (17%) had a major complication with an increase in the median length of stay from 7 to 11 days (p < 0.01). Age greater than 65 years, right-sided procedures, and dysrhythmias were associated with an increased risk of a major complication (p < 0.05). Thirty-two patients (24%) had supraventricular dysrhythmias, which occurred on postoperative days 1 to 2 (n = 8), 3 to 4 (n = 13), 5 to 6 (n = 6), and 7 to 12 (n = 5). The median length of stay increased from 8 to 11 days with dysrhythmias (p < 0.05). Factors associated with an increased risk of dysrhythmias included age greater than 65 years, intrapericardial or extrapleural pneumonectomy, right-sided procedure, and any major complication.


Pneumonectomy can be performed safely in selected patients with cancer. Supraventricular dysrhythmia was the most common complication noted with a peak incidence at 3 to 4 days after resection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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