Extra-pleural pneumonectomy and management of post-operative complications

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2006 Apr;29(4):579-84. Epub 2006 Feb 21, Opitz I, Kestenholz P, Lardinois D, Müller M, Rousson V, Schneiter D, Stahel R, Weder W, Division of Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Rämistrasse 100, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.

From PubMed

Extra-pleural pneumonectomy with neoadjuvant chemotherapy is often associated with complications. The following abstract reports on incidence and management of those complications.

Patients with mesothelioma received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (cisplatin+gemcitabine or cisplatin+pemetrexed) followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy and postoperative radiotherapy. The incidence and management of postoperative complications in general and of bronchopleural fistula and postpneumonectomy-empyema in particular were analyzed.

63 patients underwent complete extrapleural pneumonectomy after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Postoperative complications were observed in 39 cases (62%) and 2 patients died within 30 days (3.2%). Postpneumonectomy-empyema occurred in 15.8% of the patients (n=10), six with a bronchopleural fistula on the right side. All empyemas were treated successfully. Five patients developed chylothorax (7.9%) and four patients had complications due to a patch failure: cardiac herniation (n=2), restriction of cardiac output (n=1) or gastric herniation (n=1). Patients with higher EORTC-score presented significantly more postoperative complications (p=0.03). A longer duration of surgery tended to be associated with a higher incidence of postoperative complications, especially of empyemas.

Extrapleural pneumonectomy after neoadjuvant chemotherapy can be performed with mortality rates comparable to standard pneumonectomies. Complications are frequent but can be successfully managed.

Information about mesothelioma medical and legal options provided by the Law Office of Roger G. Worthington, P.C., www.mesothel.com.


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