Original Article

Anesthesia with nontracheal intubation in thoracic surgery

Qinglong Dong, Lixia Liang, Yingfen Li, Jun Liu, Weiqiang Yin, Hanzhang Chen, Xin Xu, Wenlong Shao, Jianxing He


Objective: To study one-lung respiration during VATS wedge resection of bullae and pulmonary nodules with nontracheal intubation, and to explore the changes of vital signs when patients return to two-lung ventilation.

Methods: Twenty-two patients with normal cardiopulmonary function and absence of contraindications to epidural anesthesia were included in this study. VATS wedge resection of bullae or pulmonary nodules was performed. 0.5% Ropivacain was administrated for epidural anesthesia (T8-9), and 2 mL of 2% lidocaine was used for local anesthetic block of the intrathoracic vagus nerves. The BIS value was maintained between 50 and 70 by target-controlled infusion of propofol and remifentanil. Electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate (HR), blood pressure (Bp), pulse oxygen saturation (SpO2), respiratory rate (RR), bispectral index (BIS) and urine volume were monitored.

Results: None patients were converted to endotracheal intubation during anesthesia. MAP and SpO2 after wound disclosure were stable (P>0.05), level of CVP significantly elevated, HR and RR increased (P<0.05), PaCO2 increased gradually while PaO2 remained stable. Fifteen minutes after wound closure, MAP, RR and SpO2 returned to their preanesthesia levels, PH value gradually recovered, PaCO2 tended to decrease and returned to normal one hour after wound closure. Physical agitation occurred in one case due to inadequate epidural anesthesia during skin incision. Cough before intrathoracic vagal blockade was noted in two cases (9.1%) because of lobe traction.

Conclusions: Nontracheal intubation is feasible in VATS wedge resection of bullae and pulmonary nodules. The patients are with stable intraoperative vital signs and none experiences hypoxemia; intraoperative hypercapnia is tolerable and transient, which can be improved quickly when bilateral lungs resume spontaneous respiration.