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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2017 Jun 1;51(6):1177-1182. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezx013.

Video-assisted thoracic surgery lobectomy does not offer any functional recovery advantage in comparison to the open approach 3 months after the operation: a case matched analysis†.

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Unit of Thoracic Surgery, AOU Ospedali Ruiniti, Ancona, Italy.
Department of Thoracic Surgery, St. Jame's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.
t33 company Srl, Ancona, Italy.



The objective of the present study was to compare functional loss [forced expiratory volume in one second to forced vital capacity ratio (FEV1), DLCO and VO2max reduction] after VATS versus open lobectomies.


We performed a prospective observational study on 195 patients who had a pulmonary lobectomy from June 2010 to November 2014 and who were able to complete a 3-months functional evaluation follow-up program. Since the VATS technique was our first choice for performing lobectomies from January 2012, we divided the patients into two groups: the OPEN group (112 patients) and the VATS group (83 patients). The open approach was intended as a muscle sparing/nerve sparing lateral thoracotomy. Fourteen baseline factors were used to construct a propensity score to match the VATS-group patients with their OPEN-group counterparts. These two matched groups were then compared in terms of reduction of FEV1, DLCO and VO2max (Mann-Whitney test).


The propensity score analysis yielded 83 well-matched pairs of OPEN and VATS patients. In both groups, 3 months postoperatively, we found a reduction in FEV1, DLCO and VO2max values (OPEN patients: FEV1-10%, DLCO -11.9%, VO2max - 5.5%; VATS patients: FEV1-7.2%, DLCO-10.6%, VO2max-6.9%). The reductions in FEV1, DLCO and VO2max were similar to those in the two matched groups, with a Cohen effect size <0.2 for all the comparisons.


In 3 months, both OPEN patients and VATS patients experienced a reduction in their preoperative functional parameters. VATS lobectomy does not offer any advantages in terms of FEV1, DLCO and exercise capacity recovery in comparison to the muscle-sparing thoracotomy approach.


Oxygen consumption; Pulmonary function; Video-assisted thoracic surgery

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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