Purpose: Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) has re-emerged as an alternative in the management of patients with chronic, debilitating, emphysematous lung disease. This has permitted the formal evaluation of pathologic pulmonary changes present in these patients. This study seeks to describe systematically the pathologic findings present in patients undergoing LVRS.
Methods: Tissue sections stained with hematoxylin-eosin, as well as special stains, were retrospectively reviewed from the specimens of 65 nonconsecutive LVRS patients (male patients, 66%; female patients, 31%; mean age, 63.2±6.76 yr). All operations were conducted via an open technique (bilateral, 83%; unilateral, 17%).
Results: Histologic emphysema grade was mild in 9%, moderate in 72%, and severe in 19% of patients. Microscopic bullae were noted in 75% of specimens. Three patients, each with radiographic evidence of a lesion preoperatively, had small (1.1 to 2.8 cm) adenocarcinomas. Granulomatous bronchiolitis and pneumonitis were noted in one patient who postoperatively developed progressive respiratory compromise. An old, inactive aspergilloma was found in the specimen of another patient. Additional findings of potential clinical significance included bronchiolitis (54), bronchiolectasis (6), and bronchoalveolar metaplasia (1). Incidental findings included interstitial fibrosis and scar (55), interstitial inflammation (20), calcification (20), and ossification (11), bone marrow emboli (4), chemodectoma (2), and carcinoid tumorlets (1).
Conclusion: This systematic analysis of the resected specimens from patients undergoing LVRS describes a wide range of pathologic findings, including those clinically relevant, as well as incidental. As the application of LVRS continues to expand, the likelihood of discovering clinically significant pathologic lesions (eg, carcinoma) will undoubtedly increase.