Readmissions After Lobectomy in an Era of Increasing Minimally Invasive Surgery: A Statewide Analysis

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Objective: Utilization of minimally invasive surgical modalities for lobectomy is increasing. Lobectomy can be associated with notable rates of readmission. As use of these modalities increases, evaluation of the impact on readmission is warranted. Methods: Data from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council were used to identify lobectomy operations performed in Pennsylvania from 2011 through 2014. Operations were stratified by approach: open, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) or robotic. Differences in patient characteristics were assessed with analysis of variance and chi-squared tests. Logistic regression modeled risk of 30-day readmission and linear regression modeled length of stay (LOS) after controlling for confounders. Results: We evaluated 4,939 lobectomy operations (2,501 open, 1,944 VATS, 494 robotic) with 583 readmissions (11.8%). Robotic cases increased 333% over 4 years. VATS and open cases increased 38% and 22%, respectively. Surgical approach was not associated with hospital readmission (VATS odds ratio (OR) = 0.95; P = 0.632; and robotic OR = 1.02; P = 0.916). Longer LOS was associated with a greater likelihood of readmission (OR = 1.58; P = 0.002). LOS was 1 day less for VATS (P < 0.001) and 1.5 days less for robotic lobectomy (P < 0.001) when compared to an open approach. The most common reasons for readmission were respiratory complications and nonrespiratory infection. Conclusions: Surgical approach does not directly affect readmission. However, minimally invasive lobectomy appears to be associated with shorter LOS and results in more patients discharged home. Decreased LOS and discharge home are associated with fewer readmissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-462
Number of pages10
JournalInnovations: Technology and Techniques in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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