Background: Bronchopleural fistula remains a significant source of morbidity and mortality after right pneumonectomy. We reviewed our initial experience with a novel "carinaplasty" airway closure technique aimed at reducing the risks of bronchopleural fistula. Methods: Since 2003, 51 consecutive patients who required right pneumonectomy at our institution underwent carinaplasty airway closure. Malignancy was the indication for pneumonectomy in all but 2 patients. Eighteen patients received preoperative radiation therapy, including 5 patients who received 6000 cGy or more. Postoperatively, 17 patients required mechanical ventilation for an average of 13 days (range, 3 to 42 days). Results: Six operative deaths occurred, four (8.6%) of which were in the 46 patients who did not receive preoperative bleomycin. All deaths were secondary to respiratory failure. None of these patients demonstrated bronchopleural fistula despite mechanical ventilation for up to 30 days. In 2 patients, a small (≤2 mm) bronchopleural fistula developed at 3 and 4 months after operation, respectively. Both patients presented with minor symptoms and spontaneously healed within 1 month after open drainage. Conclusions: These data suggest that the carinaplasty airway closure may reduce the morbidity and mortality of bronchopleural fistula after right pneumonectomy. We speculate mechanisms include elimination of the bronchial stump diverticulum in combination with more submucosal blood supply at the suture line compared with the standard bronchial closures. We currently consider carinaplasty airway closure the technique of choice at our institution and plan continued evaluation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine