Lobectomy in octogenarians: real world outcomes for robotic-assisted, video-assisted thoracoscopic, and open approaches

Inderpal S. Sarkaria, Madhu Lalitha Gorrepati, Shilpa Mehendale, Daniel S. Oh


Background: The proportion of the elderly (≥80 years old) patient population in the United States is increasing. Consequently, surgeons are more involved in the care of these patients than they had been in the past. Therefore, surgeons must re-evaluate their prior assumptions about their surgical management of octogenarian patients. Although open thoracotomy is a popular approach for pulmonary lobectomy, minimally invasive techniques are associated with improved outcomes in this frail patient population. Our goal was to evaluate perioperative outcomes of standard open lobectomy to both video-assisted thoracoscopic and robotic-assisted lobectomy in patients ≥80 years old.
Methods: Octogenarian patients, who underwent elective pulmonary lobectomy from January 1, 2011 through September 30, 2015, were identified from the National Premier Healthcare Database. One-to-one propensity score matching (PSM) was performed between robotic-assisted and open lobectomy populations and between video-assisted thoracoscopic and open lobectomy populations. Rates of perioperative outcomes from each comparison were analyzed.
Results: Of the 1,849 octogenarian patients who satisfied the inclusion criteria, propensity-score matched (1:1) comparative analyses of robotic-assisted lobectomy (n=232) and open lobectomy (n=232) patients as well as video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy (n=562) and open lobectomy (n=562) patients were made. Both robotic-assisted and video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy cohorts were associated with shorter lengths of stay (both P<0.001) and higher rates of discharge to home compared to open lobectomy (P=0.0435 and P=0.0037, respectively). Robotic-assisted lobectomy was associated with fewer postoperative complications compared to open lobectomy (P=0.0249).
Conclusions: Minimally invasive lobectomy is a viable surgical option in octogenarians and provides improved outcomes compared to open thoracotomy in a retrospective cohort. Carefully selected patients can achieve excellent outcomes.