CHEST 2008: Technique Benefits Lung Cancer Patients

Video-assisted thoracic surgery allows patients to return home sooner than open surgery does

TUESDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with non-small cell lung cancer, minimally invasive video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is associated with significantly shorter hospital stays than conventional open surgery, according to research presented this week at CHEST 2008, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, in Philadelphia.

Walter Scott, M.D., of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and colleagues analyzed the records of 140 lobectomy patients, including 74 who underwent VATS and 66 who underwent open surgery for stage I non-small cell lung cancer. Five VATS procedures were converted to open procedures.

The researchers found that operative mortality was identical for both groups (1.5 percent) and that complication rates were similar (35 percent for VATS and 42 percent for open surgery). But they found that the VATS group had a significantly shorter median postoperative hospital stay (four days versus seven days) and median chest tube duration (four days versus five days). They also found that the mean number of lymph nodes retrieved per patient was 14.7 for VATS and 18.1 for open surgery.

"Although this study addressed short-term clinical outcomes only, the results support the recommendation that VATS lobectomy is an acceptable if not preferable surgical treatment compared to thoracotomy and lobectomy for patients with clinical stage I NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer)," the authors conclude.


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