ISSN : 1301-5680
e-ISSN : 2149-8156
Turkish Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery     
Evaluation of Rethoracotomies Performed Due To Postoperative Complications
Sedat Gürkök, Serkan Yazgan, Alper Gözübüyük, Orhan Yücel, Hasan Çaylak, Kuthan Kavaklı, Mehmet Dakak, Onur Genç
Gülhane Askeri Tıp Akademisi Göğüs Cerrahisi Anabilim Dalı, Ankara
Background: We evaluated patients who underwent rethoracotomy during a nine-year period due to postoperative complications following surgery for thoracic diseases.

Methods: A retrospective review was made of 986 patients who underwent thoracotomy for lung diseases from 1996 to 2004. Of these, 13 patients (1.3%; all males; mean age 34.9 years; range 20 to 69 years) who required a rethoracotomy due to a postoperative complication were evaluated with respect to the type and indications of initial surgeries, indications of rethoracotomies, the type and timing of surgery, duration of postoperative follow-up, morbidity, and mortality.

Results: Initial operations had been performed for malignant and benign diseases in three and 10 patients, respectively. Indications of rethoracotomies were massive hemorrhage in 10 patients (76.9%), and bronchopleural fistula, persistent parenchymal air leak, and defect in the parenchymal expansion in three patients, respectively. The most common source of hemorrhage was the thoracic wall. Rethoracotomy was performed within the first 72 hours in 11 patients, and on the fifth and thirteenth days in two patients. The time to rethoracotomy due to hemorrhage ranged from 15 minutes to 72 hours after the initial operation. The mean hospital stay was 8.5±3.9 days (range 3 to 19 days) for initial thoracotomies, and 12.5±6.4 days (range 3 to 24 days) for rethoracotomies. The only morbidity causing event after rethoracotomy was parenchymal air leak that continued for seven and 22 days in two patients, respectively. Mortality did not occur.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that postoperative complications, and thus, the need for a rethoracotomy can be reduced by appropriate surgical technique, adequate surgical experience, and proper preoperative and postoperative care.

Keywords : Hemorrhage; lung diseases; lung neoplasms; mediastinum; pneumonectomy; postoperative complications; postoperative hemorrhage; reoperation; thoracotomy
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