Background: Pulmonary emphysema is associated with cachexia and disregulation of the hormones regulating the glycolipid metabolism, insulin resistance, and altered substrate utilization. This study aimed at identifying the effects of lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) on glycolipidic hormones compared to respiratory rehabilitation (RR).
Methods: Thirty-three patients with moderate-to-severe emphysema who were undergoing video-assisted thoracoscopic LVRS were compared to 31 similar patients who refused the operation and followed a standardized RR program. All patients were evaluated before and 12 months after treatment for respiratory function, body composition, glycolipidic hormones, metabolic parameters, and insulin resistance, which was calculated using the homeostatic model assessment index for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). These groups were compared to a matched healthy control population.
Results: Only after LVRS significant improvements were obtained in respiratory function (FEV1, + 25.2%; p < 0.0001; residual volume, −19.5%; p < 0.0001), metabolic parameters (total cholesterol, + 13.1%; p < 0.01; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, + 11.2%; p < 0.01; triglycerides, +18.4; p < 0.001; nonesterified fatty acid, − 19.7%; p < 0.001), and body composition (fat-free mass [FFM], + 6.5%; p < 0.01; fat mass [FM], + 11.9%; p < 0.01). The leptin/FM ratio (− 6.1%; p < 0.01) and resistin/FM ratio (− 5.6%; p < 0.01) decreased, whereas the adiponectin/FM ratio (+ 6.9%; p < 0.01) and ghrelin (+ 9.2%; p < 0.01) increased, together with reductions in glycemia (− 8.8%; p < 0.01), insulin level (− 20.4%; p < 0.001), and HOMA-IR (− 27.2%; p < 0.0001). The decrement in residual volume was correlated with increment of FFM (ρ = − 0.49; p < 0.02), FM (ρ = − 0.55; p < 0.009), and ghrelin (ρ = − 0.52; p < 0.01), and also with decreases in leptin corrected for FM (ρ = 0.50; p < 0.02) and, marginally, HOMA-IR (ρ = 0.35; p = 0.07).
Conclusions: After LVRS, glycolipidic hormone levels and nutritional status significantly improved, along with insulin resistance reduction and more physiologic utilization of substrates. Correlations between residual volume and body composition as well as glycolipidic hormone levels suggest that postoperative recovery in respiratory dynamics may induce favorable clinical changes when compared to RR.