- •Earlier discharge following VATS lung resection is not associated with increased rates of readmission or postdischarge complications among patients undergoing surgery for suspected lung cancer.
- •Shorter postoperative length of stay is safe for selected patients whose initial postoperative recovery is uncomplicated.
- •Overall, pneumothorax was the most common reason for readmission following VATS lung resection procedures.
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) techniques permit shorter postoperative length of stay (LOS). However, it remains unknown whether earlier discharge increases the risk of adverse postoperative events. We examined whether shorter LOS following elective VATS lung resection was associated with increased rates of readmission or postoperative complications.
Patients who underwent elective thoracoscopic segmentectomy, lobectomy, or bilobectomy for lung neoplasms from 2011 to 2018 were identified in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) dataset. Postoperative LOS was treated as an ordinal variable. The examined outcomes were 30-d readmission and 30-d postdischarge death or serious morbidity (DSM). Multivariable logistic regression models evaluated the association of LOS with outcomes. The most common readmission diagnoses were identified for each operation.
Among 14,418 patients, 12,410 (86.1%) underwent lobectomy, 1764 (12.2%) underwent segmentectomy, and 244 (1.7%) underwent bilobectomy. The median LOS was 3 d for patients undergoing lobectomy (IQR 2-5) and segmentectomy (IQR 2-4), and 4 d for bilobectomy (IQR 3-6). Readmission rates varied with admission time and ranged from 5.0% for patients with LOS ≤1 d to 8.5% for LOS ≥5 d. The most common readmission diagnoses were pneumothorax (19.0%) and wound complications (13.4%). Each one-day increase in LOS was associated with an increased risk of readmission (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.04-1.17, P < 0.001). No association was seen between earlier discharge and DSM (OR 1.08, 95% CI 0.99-1.18, P = 0.070).
Early discharge following VATS lung resection is not associated with increased rates of readmission or postoperative complications among patients undergoing surgery for cancer, and may safely be considered for selected patients with uncomplicated postoperative recovery.
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Published online: April 05, 2022
Accepted: February 14, 2022
Received in revised form: January 28, 2022
Received: October 20, 2021
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