Article Abstract

Intermittent chest tube clamping may shorten chest tube drainage and postoperative hospital stay after lung cancer surgery: a propensity score matching analysis

Authors: Shi Yan, Xing Wang, Yaqi Wang, Chao Lv, Yuzhao Wang, Jia Wang, Yue Yang, Nan Wu


Background: Postoperative pleural drainage markedly influences the length of hospital stay and the financial costs of medical care. The safety of chest tube clamping before removal has been documented. This study aims to determine if intermittent chest tube clamping shortens the duration of chest tube drainage and hospital stay after lung cancer surgery.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 285 consecutive patients with operable lung cancer treated using lobectomy and systematic mediastinal lymphadenectomy. The chest tube management protocol in our institution was changed in January 2014, and thus, 222 patients (clamping group) were managed with intermittent chest tube clamping, while 63 patients (control group) were managed with a traditional protocol. Propensity score matching at a 1:1 ratio was applied to balance variables potentially affecting the duration of chest tube drainage. Analyses were performed to compare drainage duration and postoperative hospital stay between the two groups in the matched cohort. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to predict the factors associated with chest tube drainage duration.
Results: The rates of thoracocentesis after chest tube removal were similar between the clamping and control groups in the whole cohort (0.5% vs. 1.6%, P=0.386). The rates of pyrexia were also comparable in the two groups (2.3% vs. 3.2%, P=0.685). After propensity score matching, 61 cases remained in each group. Both chest tube drainage duration (3.9 vs. 4.8 days, P=0.001) and postoperative stay (5.7 vs. 6.4 days, P=0.025) were significantly shorter in the clamping group than in the control group. Factors significantly associated with shorter chest tube drainage duration were female sex, chest tube clamping, left lobectomy, and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Intermittent postoperative chest tube clamping may decrease the duration of chest tube drainage and postoperative hospital stay while maintaining patient safety.