Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Thorac Surg. 1996 Feb;61(2):533-7.

Complications of video-assisted thoracic surgery: a five-year experience.

Author information

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Hôpital du Val de Grâce, Paris, France.



Although thoracoscopy was originally described in 1910, recent developments in video-assisted surgical techniques and endoscopic equipment has expanded the application of video-assisted surgical procedures in the field of thoracic surgery.


In an effort to define both high-risk patients for video-assisted thoracic procedures and high-risk video-assisted thoracic surgical procedures, we reviewed the experience of four surgical institutions from June 1991 through May 1995. We looked specifically at complications resulting from the 937 video-assisted thoracic procedures performed during this period.


Perioperative incidents or complications occurred in 35 patients (3.7%), and 116 procedures (12.4%) were converted to a thoracotomy. The in-hospital mortality rate was 0.5%, and death occurred principally in patients operated on for malignant pleural effusion. The overall incidence of postoperative complications was 10.9%, and the most prevalent complications were prolonged air leak (6.7%) and pleural effusion (0.7%).


The incidence of complications was acceptable and, except for that of prolonged air leak, did not differ significantly from that resulting from analogous open procedures. Video-assisted thoracic surgery appears safe and particularly useful for some indications. However, the possibility of dramatic life-threatening perioperative complications requiring emergency conversion to thoracotomy justifies the fact that only trained thoracic surgeons should perform video-assisted thoracic surgical procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center