Video-assisted thoracic surgery in the elderly: A review of 307 cases

Michael T. Jaklitsch, Malcolm M. DeCamp*, Michael J. Liptay, David H. Harpole, Scott J. Swanson, Steven J. Mentzer, David J. Sugarbaker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Study objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the impact of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) on age-related morbidity and mortality for thoracic surgical procedures. Design: Prospective data were collected on 896 consecutive VATS procedures from July 1991 to June 1994. Daily in-hospital, postoperative data collection by a full-time thoracic surgical nurse and postdischarge follow-up in a thoracic surgery clinic at 1 and 6 weeks were done. Patients: On 296 patients aged 65 or older, 307 procedures were performed. One hundred nine procedures were performed on patients between 65 and 69 years, 110 on patients between 70 and 74 years, 55 on patients between 75 and 79 years, and 33 on those between 80 and 90 years. Measurements and results: The population was divided into four cohorts of 5- year age spans for analysis. Comparison was made with Fisher's Exact Test. Overall, 61% of the 307 procedures were for pulmonary disease. There were 32 anatomic lung resections (VATS lobectomies or segmentectomies), 156 extra- anatomic lung resections (thoracoscopic wedge or bullectomy), 78 procedures for pleural disease (25%), 27 mediastinal dissections (9%), and 14 pericardial windows (5%). There was a trend toward a lower mean FEV1 with increasing age. There were 3 deaths; overall mortality was less than 1%. There were 4 conversions to open thoracotomy (1%). Complications occurred with 45 procedures (15% morbidity). Twenty-two operations (7%) were associated with major complications adding to the length of stay and 27 procedures (9%) had minor complications. Median length of stay after VATS was 4 days for patients aged 65 to 79 years and 5 days for those aged 80 to 90 years. Morbidity and mortality were unrelated to age. Conclusions: The 30- day operative mortality is superior to previous reports of standard thoracotomy. Morbidity is low and length of hospital stay appears improved. VATS techniques may be safer than open thoracotomy in the aged. Age alone should not be a contraindication to operative intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-758
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • elderly
  • thoracoscopy
  • video-assisted thoracic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Video-assisted thoracic surgery in the elderly: A review of 307 cases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this