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BACKGROUND: Intraoperative mechanical ventilation may influence postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs). Current practice during thoracic surgery is not well described. METHODS: This is a post-hoc analysis of the prospective multicenter cross-sectional LAS VEGAS study focusing on patients who underwent thoracic surgery. Consecutive adult patients receiving invasive ventilation during general anesthesia were included in a one-week period in 2013. Baseline characteristics, intraoperative and postoperative data were registered. PPCs were collected as composite endpoint until the 5th postoperative day. Patients were stratified into groups based on the use of one lung ventilation (OLV) or two lung ventilation (TLV), endoscopic vs. non-endoscopic approach and ARISCAT score risk for PPCs. Differences between subgroups were compared using χ2 or Fisher exact tests or Student's t-test. Kaplan-Meier estimates of the cumulative probability of development of PPC and hospital discharge were performed. Cox-proportional hazard models without adjustment for covariates were used to assess the effect of the subgroups on outcome. RESULTS: From 10,520 patients enrolled in the LAS VEGAS study, 302 patients underwent thoracic procedures and were analyzed. There were no differences in patient characteristics between OLV vs. TLV, or endoscopic vs. open surgery. Patients received VT of 7.4 ± 1.6 mL/kg, a PEEP of 3.5 ± 2.4 cmH2O, and driving pressure of 14.4 ± 4.6 cmH2O. Compared with TLV, patients receiving OLV had lower VT and higher peak, plateau and driving pressures, higher PEEP and respiratory rate, and received more recruitment maneuvers. There was no difference in the incidence of PPCs in OLV vs. TLV or in endoscopic vs. open procedures. Patients at high risk had a higher incidence of PPCs compared with patients at low risk (48.1% vs. 28.9%; hazard ratio, 1.95; 95% CI 1.05-3.61; p = 0.033). There was no difference in the incidence of severe PPCs. The in-hospital length of stay (LOS) was longer in patients who developed PPCs. Patients undergoing OLV, endoscopic procedures and at low risk for PPC had shorter LOS. CONCLUSION: PPCs occurred frequently and prolonged hospital LOS following thoracic surgery. Proportionally large tidal volumes and high driving pressure were commonly used in this sub-population. However, large RCTs are needed to confirm these findings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was prospectively registered at the Clinical Trial Register (; NCT01601223 ; registered May 17, 2012.).

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Anesthesiol

Publication Date





General anesthesia, Mechanical ventilation, Perioperative complications, Thoracic surgery, Aged, Anesthesia, General, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Length of Stay, Lung Diseases, Male, Middle Aged, One-Lung Ventilation, Postoperative Complications, Prospective Studies, Respiration, Artificial, Thoracic Surgical Procedures, Tidal Volume