, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 395-399

Early Removal of Chest Drainage Tubes and Oxygen Support After a Lobectomy for Lung Cancer Facilitates Earlier Recovery of the 6-Minute Walking Distance

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of the early removal of chest tubes and oxygen support lines on the postoperative recovery of patients, who underwent a lobectomy for lung cancer. Forty-two patients, in whom the removal of chest tubes and oxygen support lines was planned for the morning after surgery (subjective group), were matched by sex and age with 42 patients for whom no such action was scheduled (control group). The mean duration of chest tube drainage was 1.5 ± 0.8 days in the subjective group, which was significantly shorter than the period of 2.8 ± 1.0 days in the control group (P < 0.001). The mean duration of oxygen support was 1.1 ± 0.3 days in the subjective group, which was significantly shorter than the period of 3.1 ± 1.3 days in the control group (P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the chest drainage volume and oxygen saturation on the morning after surgery between the two groups. We thus compared the postoperative changes in vital capacity (VC) and 6-min walking distance (6MWD) after surgery between the two groups. The early removal of chest tubes and oxygen support lines significantly reduced the impairments of 6MWD 1 week after surgery (P = 0.04) and also diminished the impairments of VC 1 week after surgery but not to a significant extent (P = 0.06). The early removal of chest tubes and oxygen support lines could accelerate the postoperative recovery of 6MWD.

Received: June 7, 2000 / Accepted: November 20, 2000