OBJECTIVES: To assess the complication rate in participants of the screen arm of the NELSON lung cancer screening trial who underwent surgical resection and to investigate, based on a literature review, whether the complication rate, length of hospital stay, re-thoracotomy and mortality rates after a surgical procedure were different from those of the non-screening series, taking co-morbidity into account. METHODS: Between April 2004 and December 2008, 198 subjects underwent thoracic surgery. Co-morbid conditions were retrieved from the medical records. Postoperative complications were classified as minor and major. RESULTS: In total, 182 thoracotomies, 5 thoracotomies after video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and 11 VATS procedures were performed. In these patients, 36% had chronic obstructive lung disease, 16% coronary artery disease, 14% diabetes mellitus and 11% peripheral vascular disease. Following thoracotomy, 47% (88/187) had ≥1 minor (7-57% in literature) and 10% (18/187) ≥1 major complication (2-26% in literature); following VATS, 38% (6/16) had ≥1 minor complication, but no major complications. Seventeen per cent (3/18) of major complications and 21% (20/96) of minor complications were seen in subjects operated for benign disease. The re-thoracotomy rate was 3% and there was no 30-day mortality after thoracotomy or VATS (0-8.3% in literature). The mortality rate of 0% after surgical procedures is low when compared with the non-screening series (0-8.3%); the rate of complications (53%) is within range when compared with the non-screening series (8.5-58%). CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, mortality rates after surgical procedures are lower in the NELSON lung cancer screening trial than those in the non-screening series. The rate of complications is within the same range as in the non-screening series.

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doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezs081, hdl.handle.net/1765/70279
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Department of Pulmonology

van 't Westeinde, S., Horeweg, N., de leyn, P., Groen, H., Lammers, J.-W., Weenink, C., … van Klaveren, R. (2012). Complications following lung surgery in the dutch-belgian randomized lung cancer screening trial. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 42(3), 420–429. doi:10.1093/ejcts/ezs081