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Thorax. 2007 Nov;62(11):991-7. Epub 2007 Jun 15.

Risk factors for 30-day mortality after resection of lung cancer and prediction of their magnitude.

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Cancer Registry of Norway, Department of Clinical and Registry-based Research, 0310 Oslo, Norway.



There is considerable variability in reported postoperative mortality and risk factors for mortality after surgery for lung cancer. Population-based data provide unbiased estimates and may aid in treatment selection.


All patients diagnosed with lung cancer in Norway from 1993 to the end of 2005 were reported to the Cancer Registry of Norway (n = 26 665). A total of 4395 patients underwent surgical resection and were included in the analysis. Data on demographics, tumour characteristics and treatment were registered. A subset of 1844 patients was scored according to the Charlson co-morbidity index. Potential factors influencing 30-day mortality were analysed by logistic regression.


The overall postoperative mortality rate was 4.4% within 30 days with a declining trend in the period. Male sex (OR 1.76), older age (OR 3.38 for age band 70-79 years), right-sided tumours (OR 1.73) and extensive procedures (OR 4.54 for pneumonectomy) were identified as risk factors for postoperative mortality in multivariate analysis. Postoperative mortality at high-volume hospitals (> or = 20 procedures/year) was lower (OR 0.76, p = 0.076). Adjusted ORs for postoperative mortality at individual hospitals ranged from 0.32 to 2.28. The Charlson co-morbidity index was identified as an independent risk factor for postoperative mortality (p = 0.017). A prediction model for postoperative mortality is presented.


Even though improvements in postoperative mortality have been observed in recent years, these findings indicate a further potential to optimise the surgical treatment of lung cancer. Hospital treatment results varied but a significant volume effect was not observed. Prognostic models may identify patients requiring intensive postoperative care.

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