Video-assisted thorcacic surgery (VATS) is considered an alternative to open lobectomy for the treatment of non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Limited data are available, however, regarding the equivalence of open versus VATS segmental resections, particularly among elderly patients.
From the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare database we identified 577 stage I NSCLC patients aged more than 65 years treated with VATS or open segmentectomy. We used propensity score methods to control for differences in the baseline characteristics of patients treated with VATS versus open segmentectomy. Outcomes included perioperative complications, need for intensive care unit, extended hospital stay, perioperative mortality, and survival.
Overall, 27% of patients underwent VATS. VATS-treated patients had lower rates of postoperative complications (odds ratio [OR]: 0.55, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.37–0.83), intensive care unit admissions (OR: 0.18, 95% CI: 0.12–0.28), and decreased length of stay (OR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.21–0.81) after adjusting for propensity scores. Postoperative outcomes were not significantly different across groups after adjusting for surgeon characteristics. Overall (hazard ratio: 0.80, 95% CI: 0.60–1.06) and lung cancer–specific (hazard ratio: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.45–1.12) survival was similar across groups.
VATS segmentectomy can be safely performed among elderly NSCLC patients and is associated with equivalent postoperative and oncologic outcomes.