Study objective: To evaluate the capability of the stair climbing test to predict cardiopulmonary complications after lung resection for lung cancer.
Design: A prospective cohort of candidates for lung resection. Spirometric assessment and the stair climbing test were performed the day before operation. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify predictors of postoperative complications.
Setting: Tertiary referral center.
Patients: A consecutive series of 160 candidates for lung resection with lung carcinoma from January 2000 through March 2001.
Results: At univariate analysis, the patients with complications were significantly older (p = 0.02), had a significantly lower FEV1 percentage (p = 0.007) and predicted postoperative FEV1 percentage (p = 0.01), had a greater incidence of a concomitant cardiac disease (p = 0.02), climbed a lower altitude at the stair climbing test (p < 0.0001), and had a lower calculated maximum oxygen consumption (V̇o2max) [p = 0.03] and predicted postoperative V̇o2max (p = 0.006) compared to the patients without complications. At multivariate analysis, the altitude reached at the stair climbing test remained the only significant independent predictor of complications.
Conclusions: The stair climbing test is a safe and economical exercise test, and it was the best predictor of cardiopulmonary complications after lung resection.