Annals of Thoracic Medicine Official publication of the Saudi Thoracic Society, affiliated to King Saud University
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 54-59

Lung function changes and complications after lobectomy for lung cancer in septuagenarians

1 Institute for Lung Diseases, Clinical Center of Serbia
2 Institute for Medical Statistics, Faculty of Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia

Correspondence Address:
Dragan Subotic
Institute for Lung Diseases, Visegradska 26/20, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1737.49413

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Background: In septuagenarians, lobectomy is the preferable operation, with lower morbidity than for pneumonectomy. However, the 1-year impact of lobectomy on lung function has not been well studied in elderly patients. Materials and Methods: Retrospective study including 30 patients 70 years or older (study group), 25 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) under 70 years (control group 1), and 22 patients under 70 years with normal lung function (control group 2) operated for lung cancer in a 2-year period. The study and control groups were compared related to lung function changes after lobectomy, operative morbidity, and mortality. Results: Postoperative lung function changes in the elderly followed the similar trend as in patients with COPD. There were no significant differences between these two groups related to changes in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV 1 ) and vital capacity (VC). Unlike that, the pattern of the lung function changes in the elderly was significantly different compared with patients with normal lung function. The mean postoperative decrease in FEV 1 was 14.16% in the elderly, compared with a 29.23% decrease in patients with normal lung function ( P < 0.05). In the study and control groups, no patients died within the first 30 postoperative days. The operative morbidity in the elderly group was significantly lower than in patients with COPD (23.3% vs. 60%). Conclusions: The lung function changes after lobectomy in the elderly are similar to those in patients with COPD. The explanation for such a finding needs further investigation. Despite a high proportion of concomitant diseases, the age itself does not carry a prohibitively high risk of operative mortality and morbidity.

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