From the Journals

Walk test may predict complications after lung cancer surgery



For lung cancer patients with moderately decreased lung function, the 6-minute walk test may be a useful tool to help predict postoperative cardiopulmonary complications, researchers have found.

Risk of cardiopulmonary complications increased nearly eightfold in patients with moderate lung function decreases who failed to walk 400 m or more, according to the study, which included data on 416 patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who underwent lobectomy.

This is believed to be the first large study evaluating the utility of the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) to predict postoperative cardiopulmonary complications in this surgical setting, according to researchers led by Hyun Lee, MD, of Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea.

“Our findings suggest that 6-minute walk distance would provide additional information in lung cancer patients with moderately decreased lung function who plan to undergo surgical resection,” said Dr. Lee and coauthors of the study report, which appears in CHEST.

More specifically, the option of curative resection should be considered in those lung cancer patients with moderately decreased lung function but a longer 6-minute walk distance, they added.

Exercise testing is currently recommended to further stratify risk of postoperative complications among patient with moderately decreased lung function, according to the researchers. The 6-minute walk test might be a good tool to evaluate feasibility for moderate risk patients, according to one recent review. However, studies so far have been limited by small numbers of patients, and larger studies have not specifically looked at predicted postoperative lung function status, they said.

Accordingly, the researchers evaluated data from patients expected to undergo curative lung cancer surgery who were enrolled in a prospective cohort study in Korea. They were classified as low or moderate risk based on pulmonary function tests, and further classified into short distance (less than 400 m) and long distance (400 m or more) groups based on their performance on the 6-minute walk test.

Postoperative cardiopulmonary complications were seen in 42.9% of the moderate-risk, short-distance group, versus 14.4% of patients in the moderate-risk, long-distance group. In the low-risk patients, those complications were seen in 9.5% and 8.3% of those in the long and short distance groups.

Odds for postoperative cardiopulmonary complications were significantly increased in the moderate-risk, short-distance group, compared with the low-risk, long-distance group (adjusted odds ratio, 7.84; 95% confidence interval, 2.24-27.46).

By contrast, odds for complications were not significantly increased in the moderate-risk, long-distance group, nor in the low-risk, short-distance groups, investigators said.

Dr. Lee and coauthors said they had no conflicts of interest to disclose.

SOURCE: Lee H et al. CHEST. 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2019.12.039.

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