Send to

Choose Destination
Anesthesiology. 2004 Apr;100(4):826-34; discussion 5A.

Perioperative cardiorespiratory complications in adults with mediastinal mass: incidence and risk factors.

Author information

Department of Anesthesiology, Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis, Laval University, Lévis, Canada.



Patients with a mediastinal mass are at risk for cardiorespiratory complications in the perioperative period. The authors' objectives were to evaluate the incidence of life-threatening intraoperative cardiorespiratory and postoperative respiratory complications in adult patients and to study the usefulness of clinical signs and symptoms, radiologic evaluation, and pulmonary function tests in the determination of the perioperative risk.


The authors reviewed the investigation and treatment of adult patients presenting with anterior or middle mediastinal masses for surgery under anesthesia between January 1994 and July 2000.


Ninety-eight patients underwent 105 anesthetic cases. The incidences of intraoperative cardiorespiratory and postoperative respiratory complications were 4 in 105 and 11 in 105, respectively. No collapse of the airways occurred during anesthesia. However, a high incidence of early postoperative life-threatening respiratory complications was observed (7 in 105). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis model, perioperative complications were predicted by the occurrence of cardiorespiratory signs and symptoms at the initial presentation (odds ratio [OR], 6.2) and the presence of combined obstructive and restrictive patterns (mixed pulmonary syndrome) on pulmonary function tests (OR, 3.9). Intraoperative complications were associated with pericardial effusion on computed tomography scan (OR, 19.8). Postoperative respiratory complications were related to tracheal compression of more than 50% on preoperative computed tomography scan evaluation (OR, 7.4) and mixed pulmonary syndrome on pulmonary function tests (OR, 15.1).


Obstruction of the airway in an adult with a mediastinal mass is a rare event in the intraoperative period. Nevertheless, caution should be observed for the occurrence of early postoperative life-threatening respiratory complications. Patient at high risk of perioperative complications can be identified by the occurrence of cardiopulmonary signs and symptoms at presentation, combined obstructive and restrictive pattern on pulmonary function tests, and computed tomography scan findings (tracheal compression > 50%, pericardial effusion, or both).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center