Postoperative changes of the free pericardial fat pad for bronchial stump coverage

Takuya Nagashima, Hiroyuki Ito, Joji Samejima, Daiji Nemoto, Daisuke Eriguchi, Haruhiko Nakayama, Tetsukan Woo, Munetaka Masuda


Background: Bronchopleural fistula (BPF) remains a serious complication after surgery for lung cancer with bronchial resection. A free pericardial fat pad (FPFP) is applied in high-risk cases to reduce BPF frequency. BPF may occur 6 months after surgery. Thus, we evaluated the residual FPFP volume at 6 months after surgery to estimate the residual FPFP ratio and determine the amount of FPFP to be harvested during surgery.
Methods: We retrospectively investigated 40 patients who underwent lobectomy with bronchial stump coverage using FPFP. During surgery, the volume of the harvested FPFP was measured and the FPFP was affixed to the bronchial stump. Further, 6 months after surgery, the residual volume of the installed FPFP was analyzed using a three-dimensional volume analyzer and the residual ratio was calculated. We also evaluated clinicopathological factors influencing the resected FPFP and residual ratio.
Results: The median resected FPFP volume was 11 [3–40] mL. During multivariate analysis, body mass index and surgical approach were found to be significant factors associated with the resected FPFP volume. The median residual FPFP volume was 4.3 (0.4–15.5) mL. The median residual ratio was 0.39 (0.13–0.66). The resected FPFP volume was significantly associated with the residual volume (P<0.001) but not with the residual ratio (P=0.811). No factor was associated with the residual ratio.
Conclusions: In all cases, residual FPFP was confirmed at 6 months after surgery and the residual ratio was 40%. It is necessary to determine the volume of FPFP to be harvested while carefully considering the shrinkage ratio.