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Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2018 Oct;35(10):727-735. doi: 10.1097/EJA.0000000000000804.

Protective ventilation during anaesthesia reduces major postoperative complications after lung cancer surgery: A double-blind randomised controlled trial.

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From the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care and Intensive Care Medicine, Hôpital Tenon, AP-HP, UPMC-Paris 06, Paris (EM, FB), Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Hôtel Dieu, CHU de Nantes, Nantes Cedex (RC), Clinical Research Platform (URC-CRC-CRB), AP-HP Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Paris, France, INSERM, U-698, UPMC-Paris 06, Paris (LB), Critical Care and Anaesthesia Department, CHU Lyon Sud, University Lyon 1, Lyon, France (VP), Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Princess Grace Hospital, Monaco (Principality), Monaco (JJ), Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital of Besancon, Besancon (BB), Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Hôtel Dieu and Cochin University Hospitals, AP-HP, Université Paris Descartes, Paris (DR) and Research Unit INSERM U1046, Saint Eloi University Hospital and Montpellier School of Medicine, Montpellier, France (SJ).



Thoracic surgery for lung resection is associated with a high incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications. Controlled ventilation with a large tidal volume has been documented to be a risk factor for postoperative respiratory complications after major abdominal surgery, whereas the use of low tidal volumes and positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) has a protective effect.


To evaluate the effects of ventilation with low tidal volume and PEEP on major complications after thoracic surgery.


A double-blind, randomised controlled study.


A multicentre trial from December 2008 to October 2011.


A total of 346 patients undergoing lobectomy or pneumonectomy for lung cancer.


The primary outcome was the occurrence of major postoperative complications (pneumonia, acute lung injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary embolism, shock, myocardial infarction or death) within 30 days after surgery.


Patients were randomly assigned to receive either lung-protective ventilation (LPV group) [tidal volume 5 ml kg ideal body weight + PEEP between 5 and 8 cmH2O] or nonprotective ventilation (control group) (tidal volume 10 ml kg ideal body weight without PEEP) during anaesthesia.


The trial was stopped prematurely because of an insufficient inclusion rate. Major postoperative complications occurred in 23/172 patients in the LPV group (13.4%) vs. 38/171 (22.2%) in the control group (odds ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval, 0.31 to 0.95, P = 0.03). The incidence of other complications (supraventricular cardiac arrhythmia, bronchial obstruction, pulmonary atelectasis, hypercapnia, bronchial fistula and persistent air leak) was also lower in the LPV group (37.2 vs. 49.4%, odds ratio 0.60, 95% confidence interval, 0.39 to 0.92, P = 0.02).The duration of hospital stay was shorter in the LPV group, 11 [interquartile range, 9 to 15] days vs. 12 [9 to 16] days, P = 0.048.


Compared with high tidal volume and no PEEP, LPV combining low tidal volume and PEEP during anaesthesia for lung cancer surgery seems to improve postoperative outcomes.


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