Completion pneumonectomy: analysis of operative mortality and survival

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A single-institution experience with completion pneumonectomy was analyzed to assess operative mortality and late outcome.


A consecutive series of 138 completion pneumonectomies from 1975 to 1995 was reviewed, and compared with single-stage pneumonectomies performed during the same period.


Hospital mortality was 13.8%, including 4 intraoperative and 15 postoperative deaths. Hospital mortality was the same for lung cancer (13.2%) as for benign disease (15.5%). It was 37.5% if an early complication of the primary operation was the indication (p = 0.01). If infection of the pleural space was the indication for completion pneumonectomy, hospital mortality was 23.3% (p > 0.05). In 760 single-stage pneumonectomies hospital mortality was 8.7% (p > 0.05). Five-year actuarial survival after completion pneumonectomy was 42.5% for all patients, 32.3% for those with lung cancer, and 58.8% for those with benign disease.


Hospital mortality for completion pneumonectomy was the same for malignant as for benign indications. It was significantly higher if completion pneumonectomy was done for an early complication of the primary operation. Results at long term of lung cancer patients were the same for single-stage pneumonectomy and completion pneumonectomy.

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