Safety and efficacy of median sternotomy versus video-assisted thoracic surgery for lung volume reduction surgery

Robert J. McKenna, Joshua O. Benditt, Malcolm DeCamp, Claude Deschamps, Larry Kaiser, Shing M. Lee, Zab Mohsenifar, Steven Piantadosi*, Scott Ramsey, John Reilly, James Utz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background: The National Emphysema Treatment Trial, a randomized trial comparing lung volume reduction surgery with medical therapy for severe emphysema, included randomized and nonrandomized comparisons of the median sternotomy and video-assisted thoracoscopic approaches for lung volume reduction surgery. Methods: Lung volume reduction surgery was performed by median sternotomy only at 8 centers and video-assisted thoracoscopy only at 3 centers; 6 centers randomized the approach to lung volume reduction surgery. Mortality, morbidity, functional status, and costs were assessed. Results: In the nonrandomized comparison, 359 patients received lung volume reduction surgery by median sternotomy, and 152 patients received lung volume reduction surgery by video-assisted thoracoscopy. The 90-day mortality was 5.9% for median sternotomy and 4.6% for video-assisted thoracoscopy (P = .67). Overall mortality was 0.08 deaths per person-year for median sternotomy and 0.10 deaths per person-year for video-assisted thoracoscopy (video-assisted thoracoscopy-median sternotomy risk ratio, 1.18; P = .42). Complication rates were low and not statistically different for the 2 approaches. The median hospital length of stay was longer for median sternotomy than for video-assisted thoracoscopy (10 vs 9 days; P = .01). By 30 days after surgery, 70.5% of median sternotomy patients and 80.9% of video-assisted thoracoscopy patients were living independently (P = .02). Functional outcomes were similar for median sternotomy and video-assisted thoracoscopy at 12 and 24 months. Costs for the operation and the associated hospital stay and costs in the 6 months after surgery were both less for video-assisted thoracoscopy than for median sternotomy (P < .01 in both cases). Similar results were noted for the randomized comparison. Conclusions: Morbidity and mortality were comparable after lung volume reduction surgery by video-assisted thoracoscopy or median sternotomy, as were functional results. The video-assisted thoracoscopic approach to lung volume reduction surgery allowed earlier recovery at a lower cost than median sternotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1350-1360
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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