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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 1/2018

Robotic lobectomy has the greatest benefit in patients with marginal pulmonary function

Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery > Ausgabe 1/2018
Peter J. Kneuertz, Desmond M. D’Souza, Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, Robert E. Merritt
Wichtige Hinweise
Presented at the 13rd Annual Academic Surgical Congress, January 31th, 2018 in Jacksonville, FL



Patients with limited pulmonary function have a high risk for pulmonary complications following lobectomy. Robotic approach is currently the least invasive approach. We hypothesized that robotic lobectomy may be of particular benefit in high-risk patients.


We reviewed our institutional Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) data on lobectomy patients from 2012 to 2017. Postoperative outcomes were compared between robotic and open lobectomy groups. High-risk patients were identified by pulmonary function test. Risk of pulmonary complication was assessed by binary logistic regression analysis.


A total of 599 patients underwent lobectomy by robotic (n = 287), or by open (n = 312) approach, including 189 high-risk patients. Robotic lobectomy patients had a lower rate of prolonged air leak (6% vs. 10%, p = 0.047), less atelectasis requiring bronchoscopy (6% vs. 16%, p = 0.02), pneumonia (3% vs. 8%, p = 0.01), and shorter length of stay (4 vs. 6 days, p = 0.001). Overall pulmonary complication rate was significantly lower after robotic lobectomy in high-risk patients (28% vs. 45%, p = 0.02), less in intermediate or low risk patients. No significant difference was seen relative to major complication rate (12% vs. 17%, p = 0.09). After multivariate analysis, when adjusting for age, gender, smoking history, FEV1, DLCO, cardiopulmonary comorbidities, and prior chest surgery, the robotic approach remained independently associated with decreased pulmonary complications (odds ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval [0.34–0.85], p = 0.008).


Robotic lobectomy has the potential to decrease the risk of postoperative pulmonary complication as compared with traditional open thoracotomy. In particular, patients with limited pulmonary function derive the most benefit from a robotic approach.
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