Major Pulmonary Resection for Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma during the COVID-19 Pandemic—Single Israeli Center Cross-Sectional Study

Michael Peer*, Sharbel Azzam, Marina Kolodii, Yaacov Abramov, Ruth Shaylor, Vladimir Verenkin, Nachum Nesher, Idit Matot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The highly contagious COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges in providing care to patients with resectable non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Surgical management now needs to consider the risks of malignant disease progression by delaying surgery, and those of COVID-19 transmission to patients and operating room staff. The goal of our study was to describe our experience in providing both emergent and elective surgical procedures for patients with NSCLC during the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel, and to present our point of view regarding the safety of performing lung cancer surgery. Methods: This observational cross-sectional study included all consecutive patients with NSCLC who operated at Tel Aviv Medical Center, a large university-affiliated hospital, from February 2020 through December 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel. The patients’ demographics, COVID-19 preoperative screening results, type and side of surgery, pathology results, morbidity and mortality rates, postoperative complications, including pulmonary complications management, and hospital stay were evaluated. Results: Included in the study were 113 patients, 68 males (60.2%) and 45 females (39.8%), with a median age of 68.2 years (range, 41–89). Of these 113 patients, 83 (73.5%) underwent video-assisted thoracic surgeries (VATS), and 30 (26.5%) underwent thoracotomies. Fifty-five patients (48.7%) were preoperatively screened for COVID-19 and received negative results. Fifty-six postoperative complications were reported in 35 patients (30.9%). A prolonged air leak was detected in 11 patients (9.7%), atrial fibrillation in 11 patients (9.7%), empyema in 5 patients (4.4%), pneumonia in 9 patients (7.9%) and lobar atelectasis in 7 patients (6.2%). Three patients (2.7%) with postoperative pulmonary complications required mechanical ventilation, and two of them (1.6%) underwent tracheostomy. Two patients (1.6%) were postoperatively diagnosed as positive for COVID-19. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of implementing precautionary strategies to ensure the safety of lung cancer patients undergoing pulmonary resection during the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategy was equally effective in protecting the surgical staff and healthcare providers, and we recommend performing lung cancer surgery during the pandemic era.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1102
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Major pulmonary resection
  • Non-small cell lung carcinoma

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