A contemporary evaluation of surgical outcome in neonates and infants undergoing lung resection.
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BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: The timing and need of resection of asymptomatic congenital lung lesions are controversial. The morbidity of such surgery needs to be considered in the decision analysis. We analyzed the contemporary outcome of infants and neonates undergoing lung resection. METHODS: With institutional review board approval, all patients 12 months or younger undergoing lung resection between 1995 and 2004 in 2 hospitals were reviewed. Demographic data, indications for surgery, operative procedure, complications, use of regional anesthesia, length of stay (LOS), and follow-up were assessed. RESULTS: Forty-five patients (28 male, 17 female) with a median age of 4 months (2 days-12 months) were evaluated. Congenital lesions (42) were the most frequent indication for surgery. Twenty-two (48.9%) patients had cardiorespiratory symptoms or infection preoperatively. Lobectomy was the most common operation (40/45). Three patients had intraoperative difficulty (bleeding, hypotension, desaturation). Significant postoperative complications occurred in 7 patients: prolonged air leak or chest tube drainage (4), anemia or bleeding (2), respiratory distress requiring reintubation (1). Fewer complications occurred in asymptomatic vs symptomatic patients (1/23 vs 6/22). Of 12 patients, 7 (58%) requiring 24 hours of ventilation or longer were 3 months or younger. Increasing age did significantly influence the chance of successful extubation (P = .01; odds ratio, 1.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-2.0), as did the use of epidural anesthesia (P < .001). Median LOS was 6 days (2-89 days). Asymptomatic patients had shorter LOS (median, 4 days; range, 2-20 days; P = .024) vs symptomatic patients (median, 8 days; range, 4-89 days). The only death occurred from underlying heart disease. Mean follow-up at 35 months (12-132 months) revealed no subjective reduction in cardiopulmonary function. CONCLUSIONS: Lung resection is safe and well tolerated in infancy. Surgery should be scheduled before the development of symptoms but likely after 3 months of age to improve the chances of postoperative extubation. The use of regional anesthesia may facilitate this.