Air Leak Management Program With Digital Drainage Reduces Length of Stay After Lobectomy

Jessica M. Mayor, Donald R. Lazarus, Roberto F. Casal, Shuab Omer, Ourania Preventza, Katherine Simpson, Ernesto Jimenez, Lorraine D. Cornwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Air leaks can impede recovery from lung resection. To help prevent and manage air leaks, we developed a comprehensive program that includes using precompression of lung staple lines, sealant, fissureless video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) lobectomy, a digital drainage system, and endobronchial valve placement for prolonged air leak. We assessed the effectiveness of this program on air leak duration, hospital length of stay (LOS), and chest tube duration in our high-risk veteran population. Methods: Using a prospectively maintained database, we retrospectively analyzed data from 226 patients who underwent lung resection for cancer by VATS lobectomy in a Veterans Affairs center. Patients were divided into two groups. Group A (n = 134; historical controls) underwent lobectomy from July 2009 through October 2013; group B (n = 92; intervention group) underwent lobectomy from November 2013 through July 2016 and received care per the comprehensive program. Results: The median hospital LOS was significantly shorter in group B than in group A patients (5 days versus 6 days, respectively; p = 0.0001). Group B had a shorter median chest tube duration (2 days versus 3 days, p = 0.027). Prolonged air leak (more than 5 days) occurred in 5.4% of group B and 9.7% of group A patients (p = 0.24). Prolonged LOS (more than 14 days) was less frequent in group B (1.1%) than in group A (8.2%, p = 0.030). Multivariable analysis showed that predictors of decreased air leak duration, chest tube duration, and LOS included undergoing surgery in the later period (group B). Conclusions: Our comprehensive program was associated with reduced chest tube days and hospital LOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1647-1653
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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