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Asian Cardiovasc Thorac Ann. 2013 Feb;21(1):48-55. doi: 10.1177/0218492312454017.

Changes in lung function after surgery for mesothelioma.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.



The effect of pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pleuropneumonectomy on pulmonary function has not yet been evaluated. The aim of this study was to determine the parameters of pulmonary function before and after pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pleuropneumonectomy.


We conducted a review of 48 patients with unilateral malignant pleural mesothelioma who underwent pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pleuropneumonectomy. Data including medical history, histology, survival, and pre- and postoperative pulmonary function were extracted from the medical database of the University Medical Center Freiburg, or sought by telephone interview with the general practitioner or patients.


25 patients underwent extrapleural pleuropneumonectomy and 23 had pleurectomy/decortication. Pulmonary function was not significantly reduced in the pleurectomy/decortication group postoperatively. In the extrapleural pleuropneumonectomy group, the median preoperative total lung capacity of 4.8 L (77.7%) differed significantly from the postoperative total lung capacity of 3.5 L (55.3%; p <0.0006). The median vital capacity was significantly reduced from 2.8 L (77.7%) preoperatively to 1.8 L (47.6%) postoperatively (p <0.0002). Other parameters were also highly significantly reduced after extrapleural pleuropneumonectomy.


Pleurectomy/decortication preserved good pulmonary function, whereas extrapleural pleuropneumonectomy significantly reduced pulmonary function, which may lead to dyspnea and influence the quality of life of these patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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