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Head Neck. 1994 Jan-Feb;16(1):25-9.

Analysis of frequency of pulmonary atelectasis in patients undergoing pectoralis major musculocutaneous flap reconstruction.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, Columbus, OH 43210.


The incidence of pulmonary atelectasis following head and neck surgery is not well reported. This study retrospectively evaluated the incidence of pulmonary atelectasis in 161 head and neck cancer patients, with 152 being evaluable. There were 90 patients evaluated following pectoralis musculocutaneous flap reconstruction with their effective flap size and 71 nonflap patients as a control group. Clinical findings were correlated to radiographic scores. Of pectoralis musculocutaneous flap patients screened for preexisting pulmonary disease (PEPD), nine of 45 (20%) demonstrated pulmonary atelectasis in the first 24 hours compared with 10 of 39 or 25.6% nonflap controls. Major pulmonary atelectasis was not found in the pectoralis musculocutaneous flap patients by scoring criteria, and in only one of 39 (2.6%) nonflap patients. In flaps larger than 40 cm2, the incidence was eight of 37 (21.6%), with no major pulmonary atelectasis noted. Only one of nine (11.1%) patients with radiographic pulmonary atelectasis exhibited clinical symptoms (three of 10 or 30% control). In patients with PEPD and pectoralis musculocutaneous flaps, 22 of 45 (48.9%) had evidence of pulmonary atelectasis in contrast to 13 of 32 or 40.6% controls. There were two of 45 (4.4%) who had major pulmonary atelectasis with zero of 32 in the nonflap group. For flaps larger than 40 cm2, the incidence was 19 of 39 (48.7%) with two of 39 (5.1%) scored as major pulmonary atelectasis. The clinical correlation for this group and the major pulmonary atelectasis group was each approximately 50% compared to 15.4% for nonflap patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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