Background We previously reported that early stage lung cancer patients who are considered high risk for surgery can undergo resection with favorable perioperative results and long-term mortality. To further elucidate the role of surgical resection in this patient cohort, this study evaluated the length of stay and total hospitalization cost among patients classified as standard or high risk with early stage lung cancer who underwent pulmonary resection. Methods A total of 490 patients from our institutional Society of Thoracic Surgeons data from 2009 to 2013 underwent resection for clinical stage I lung cancer. High-risk patients were identified by American College of Surgeons Oncology Group z4032–z4099 criteria. Demographics, length of stay, and hospitalization cost between high-risk and standard-risk patients undergoing lobectomy and sublobar resection were compared. Univariate analysis was performed using the chi-square test or Fisher's exact test. Multivariate analysis was performed using a linear regressions model. Results A total of 180 (37%) of patients were classified as high risk. These patients were older (70 years of age vs. 65 years of age; p < 0.0001), had worse forced expiratory volume in 1 second (57% vs. 85%; p < 0.0001), and had worse diffusion capacity of carbon dioxide (47% vs. 77%; p < 0.0001). The baseline cost and length of stay was represented by a thoracoscopic wedge resection in a standard-risk patient. A larger extent of resection, thoracotomy, or high-risk classification increased the cost and length of stay. Conclusions Our previous study showed that good clinical outcomes after surgery for early stage lung cancer can be achieved in patients classified as high risk. In this study, although surgery in high-risk patients led to slightly increased costs, these costs seemed negligible when viewed along with the patients’ excellent short-term and long-term results. This study suggests that surgical resection on high-risk patients with early stage lung cancer is associated with acceptable hospital lengths of stay and overall cost when compared with standard-risk patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine