The changing spectrum of cystic pulmonary lesions requiring surgical resection in infants

J. R. Schneider, J. A. St Cyr, T. R. Thompson, D. E. Johnson, B. A. Burke, J. E. Foker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Congenital labor emphysema and cystic adenomatoid malformation have been the most common surgically treatable cystic lesions of the lung. With the successful treatment of newborn respiratory distress syndrome, an increased frequency of an acquired form of cystic disease, interstitial pulmonary emphysema, has been observed. Some degree of interstitial pulmonary emphysema is relatively common, and during the years 1980 to 1983 this disease was diagnosed in 372 infants. Seven of these infants, all premature, underwent resection of relatively localized areas of persistent cystic interstitial pulmonary emphysema. Lobectomy or wedge resection was performed in five patients because of their inability to be weaned from the ventilator. A sixth patient with this disease underwent lobectomy for recurrent pneumothoraces. A seventh patient underwent lobectomy because the cystic interstitial pulmonary emphysema produced atelectasis and recurrent infections. All seven patients were extubated by the fourth postoperative day, have been discharged, and are showing respiratory improvement. Within the same period, four infants had congenital lobar emphysema and two had congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation. They were gestational age 36 weeks or older and, although respiratory distress was present to some degree in all six, only one was ventilator dependent at operation. All underwent lobectomy and one infant had a left upper lobe resection and right middle lobectomy on separate occasions for bilateral congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation. All patients with congenital lobar emphysema and congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation have been discharged and are doing well. Our results suggest the following conclusions: Persistent interstitial pulmonary emphysema is now the most common indication for pulmonary resection in the newborn period. The anatomic distribution of resected interstitial pulmonary emphysema is similar to that of congenital lobar emphysema. Although only a small fraction (<2%) of patients with interstitial pulmonary emphysema require operation, the development of relatively large discrete cystic areas that (1) significantly decrease effective lung volume and produce respirator dependence, (2) produce atelectasis and recurrent infections, or (3) lead to pneumothoraces may make pulmonary resection beneficial. Finally, despite the presence of generalized lung disease in patients with interstitial pulmonary emphysema, these patients can be expected to improve significantly after resection, and the long-term outcome is generally good.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-339
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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