TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Major lung cancer
surgery in the United States has become safer in recent decades,
especially at hospitals that perform high numbers of these
operations, a new study says.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 121,000 patients who
had major lung cancer surgery between 2007 and 2011. Death rates
were 2.8 percent at 30 days after surgery and 5.4 percent at 90
days after surgery.
The higher death rate after 90 days was a surprise, according to
the study, scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the annual meeting
of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery in Toronto.
"This increase in the number of deaths between 30 days and 90
days after surgery was not expected and has not been extensively
reported in the past, as mortality rates after surgery are
traditionally examined at 30 days," lead author Dr. Christopher
Pezzi, a surgeon at Abington Health in Pennsylvania, said in a
thoracic society news release.
"The reasons for this ongoing mortality beyond 30 days are not
yet clear, but deserve further investigation," Pezzi added.
Research is typically viewed as preliminary until published in a
The operations were performed at 1,200 U.S. hospitals. The
researchers found that the overall death risk was lower in
hospitals that did more than 90 major lung cancer surgeries a year
than at those that did fewer than 10 such surgeries a year, 1.7
percent vs. 3.7 percent.
More than 10,000 of the surgeries included in the study were
performed at lower-volume hospitals.
Other factors associated with increased risk of death included:
older age, being male, more advanced tumors, a higher number of
serious medical conditions before surgery, and being poor.
Having private health insurance was associated with a low (1.8
percent) death rate 30 days after surgery.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about