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Ann Thorac Surg. 2004 Oct;78(4):1215-8.

Use of quantitative lung scintigraphy to predict postoperative pulmonary function in lung cancer patients undergoing lobectomy.

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Department of Thoracic Oncology, Papworth Hospital, Papworth Everard, Cambridge, United Kingdom.



In patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the only realistic chance of cure is surgical resection. However, in some of these patients there is such poor respiratory reserve that surgery can result in an unacceptable quality of life. In order to identify these patients, various pulmonary function tests and scintigraphic techniques have been used. The current American College of Physicians and British Thoracic Society guidelines do not recommend the use of quantitative ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy to predict postoperative function in lung cancer patients undergoing lobectomy. These guidelines may have been influenced by previous scintigraphic studies performed over a decade ago. Since then there have been advances in both surgical techniques and scintigraphic techniques, and the surgical population has become older and more female represented.


We prospectively performed spirometry and quantitative ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy on 61 consecutive patients undergoing lobectomy for lung cancer. Spirometry was repeated one-month postsurgery. Both a simple segment counting technique alone and scintigraphy were used to predict the postoperative lung function.


There was statistically significant correlation (p < 0.01) between the predicted postoperative lung function using both the simple segment counting technique and the scintigraphic techniques. However, the correlation using simple segment counting was of negligible difference compared to scintigraphy.


In keeping with current American Chest Physician and British Thoracic Society guidelines, our results suggest that quantitative ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy is not necessary in the preoperative assessment of lung cancer patients undergoing lobectomy. The simple segmenting technique can be used to predict postoperative lung function in lobectomy patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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