Technology has the potential to assist healthcare professionals in improving patient–doctor communication during the surgical journey. Our aims were to assess the acceptability of a quality of life (QoL) application (App) in a cohort of cancer patients undergoing lung resections and to depict the early perioperative trajectory of QoL.
This multicentre (Italy, UK, Spain, Canada and Switzerland) prospective longitudinal study with repeated measures used 12 lung surgery-related validated questions from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Item Bank. Patients filled out the questionnaire preoperatively and 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days after surgery using an App preinstalled in a tablet. A one-way repeated measures analysis of variance was run to determine if there were differences in QoL over time.
A total of 103 patients consented to participate in the study (83 who had lobectomies, 17 who had segmentectomies and 3 who had pneumonectomies). Eighty-three operations were performed by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). Compliance rates were 88%, 90%, 88%, 82%, 71% and 56% at each time point, respectively. The results showed that the operation elicited statistically significant worsening in the following symptoms: shortness of breath (SOB) rest (P = 0.018), SOB walk (P < 0.001), SOB stairs (P = 0.015), worry (P = 0.003), wound sensitivity (P < 0.001), use of arm and shoulder (P < 0.001), pain in the chest (P < 0.001), decrease in physical capability (P < 0.001) and scar interference on daily activity (P < 0.001) during the first postoperative month. SOB worsened immediately after the operation and remained low at the different time points. Worry improved following surgery. Surgical access and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) are the factors that most strongly affected the evolution of the symptoms in the perioperative period.
We observed good early compliance of patients operated on for lung cancer with the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons QoL App. We determined the evolution of surgery-related QoL in the immediate postoperative period. Monitoring these symptoms remotely may reduce hospital appointments and help to establish early patient-support programmes.