Issue of earlier return to work after the lung resection is very important for patients. Yet, there must be a determination of patient’s physical ability to go back to work. Therefore, the institute has conducted this study after lung resection.
Between 1998 and 2005, the institute operated total of 97 cases. 88 cases were lobectomy and 7 cases were bilobectomy, and 2 cases pneumonectomy. 55 out of 97 patients were male and 42 patients were female. The average age is 68 years old. The exercise testing and spirometric lung function testing were done before and after the surgery. The exercise testing measured the maximum oxygen uptake per minute per the body surface area (VO2max/m2) to determine patient’s physical ability, and spirometric lung function testing used two measurements such as the vital capacity per the body surface area (VC/ m2) and forced expiratory volume in 1.0 sec per the body surface area (FEV1.0/ m2). The institute decided 100 as its baseline before the surgery.
The average results of two weeks after the surgery were the following: VO2max/m2 was 82%, VC/m2 was 68.7%, and FEV1.0/m2 was 72.4% compared to results from before the surgery. 4 weeks later: VO2max/m2 result was up to 88.1%, VC/m2 increased to 74.8%, and FEV1.0/m2 went up to 77.7%. In this study, predetermined physical ability level was 80% as acceptable level to return to work. 60 cases out of 96(62.5%) exceeded this level two weeks after the surgery; 71 cases out of 94 cases (75.5%) met this level 4 weeks after.
The research shows the patient’s physical ability recoveries are quick after the lung resection; 62.5% patients have enough physical ability to return to work after two weeks, and 75.5% patients can go back to work 4 weeks after the surgery.
It is possible to use these exercise tests to determine when a patient is able to go back to work and to encourage them to do so after the lung resection.
Yoshinori Nagamatsu, None.