Journal Article

Value of body plethysmography in preoperative assessment of thoracotomy candidates

in European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Published on behalf of European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Volume 10, issue 5, pages 312-319
Published in print May 1996 | ISSN: 1010-7940
Published online May 1996 | e-ISSN: 1873-734X | DOI:
Value of body plethysmography in preoperative assessment of thoracotomy candidates

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  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery


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The usefulness of body plethysmography in the assessment of thoracotomycandidates is not well documented. Reported thresholds for operability aregenerally expressed in absolute values, which do not take into account apatient's size, age or gender. Spirometric and plethysmographic data of 103patients undergoing thoracotomy were examined for their ability to predictdeath due to cardiopulmonary insufficiency, pneumonia, and atelectasisduring the first 30 postoperative days. Neither plethysmographic norspirometric parameters could predict atelectasis. Patients who underwentlobectomy were susceptible to the development of atelectasis. A weakcorrelation between elevated functional residual capacity (FRC) andoccurrence of postoperative pneumonia was found. Lung function testing wasnot able to separate survivors from non-survivors. Patients with pneumoniawere at high risk of death in their postoperative course. Because of thenon- linear relationship, a correlation coefficient between spirometric andplethysmographic variables was not calculated. The prevalence of cardiacrisk factors was high, so the decision for invasive hemodynamic studiesshould rather be based upon a patient's history than restricted to patientswith impaired lung function. Because of methodological differences, andprobably insuitable reference values, body plethysmography cannotsubstitute for spirometry. For FRC and FRC to total lung capacity (FRC/TLC) ratio, further investigations must be undertaken to establish acorrect reference value.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine ; Cardiothoracic Surgery

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