A predicted postoperative (ppo) forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1%) or diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO%) of <40% has traditionally been considered to convey a high risk of lobectomy owing to elevated postoperative morbidity and mortality. These recommendations, however, were largely derived from the pre–video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical (VATS) era. We hypothesized that VATS lobectomy would be associated with acceptable morbidity and mortality at ppoFEV1% and ppoDLCO% values < 40%.Methods:
PpoFEV1% and ppoDLCO% were calculated for patients undergoing open or VATS lobectomy for lung cancer in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons General Thoracic database from 2009 to 2011. Univariate comparisons, multivariate analyses, and 1:1 propensity matching were performed.Results:
A total of 13,376 patients underwent lobectomy (50.9% open, 49.1% VATS). A decreased ppoFEV1% and ppoDLCO% were each independent predictors for both cardiopulmonary complications and mortality in the open group (all P ≤ .008). In the VATS group, ppoFEV1% was an independent predictor of complications (P = .001) but not mortality (P = .77), and ppoDLCO% was an independent predictor of complications (P = .046) and mortality (P = .008). With decreasing ppoFEV1% or ppoDLCO%, complications and mortality increased at a greater rate in the open lobectomy than in a propensity-matched VATS group (n = 4215 each). For patients with ppoFEV1% < 40%, mortality was greater in the open (4.8%) than in the matched VATS group (0.7%, P = .003). Similar results were seen for ppoDLCO% < 40% (5.2% open, 2.0% VATS, P = .003). The rate of complications was significantly greater at ppoFEV1% < 40% in the open (21.9%) than in the matched VATS (12.8%, P = .005) group and similar results were seen with ppoDLCO% < 40% (14.9% open, 10.4% VATS, P = .016).Conclusions:
VATS lobectomy can be performed with acceptable rates of morbidity and mortality in patients with reduced ppoFEV1% or ppoDLCO%.