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Complications of thoracic surgery 

Complications of thoracic surgery
Complications of thoracic surgery

Paul S. Myles

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date: 20 October 2020

Common complications after thoracic surgery include atelectasis, haemorrhage, pulmonary oedema, atrial fibrillation, wound infection, pneumonia, persistent air leak, and respiratory failure. Other, less frequent complications include bronchopleural fistula, empyema, cardiac herniation, pulmonary torsion, chylothorax, thromboembolism, right ventricular failure, and neurological injury. Thoracic surgical patients are frequently elderly, have substantial coexistent disease, and are particularly prone to respiratory complications. About 20% of patients undergoing lung resection suffer one or more complications after surgery, and about 2% die. These risks are doubled following pneumonectomy, and are far less common after limited wedge resection. Risk factors include patient age, current smoking, underlying carcinoma, and chronic lung disease.Anaesthetic and surgical techniques that assist early awakening and effective pain control will promote restoration of respiratory function, and this should lead to an uneventful postoperative course.

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