Background and objective: The prevalence of lung cancer has been increasing in healthy elderly patients with preserved pulmonary function and without underlying lung diseases. We aimed to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs) in healthy elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) to select optimal candidates for surgical resection in this subpopulation. Methods: We included 488 patients older than 70 years with normal spirometry results who underwent curative resection for NSCLC (stage IA-IIB) between 2012 and 2016. Results: The median (interquartile range) age of our cohort was 73 (71-76) years. Fifty-two patients (10.7%) had PPCs. Severe PPCs like acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure had prevalences of 3.7, 3.7, and 1.4%, respectively. Compared to patients without PPCs, those with PPCs were more likely to be male and current smokers; have a lower body mass index (BMI), higher American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification, more interstitial lung abnormalities (ILAs), and higher emphysema index on computed tomography (CT); and have undergone pneumonectomy or bilobectomy (all p < 0.05). On multivariate analysis, ASA classification ≥3, lower BMI, ILA, and extent of resection were independently associated with PPC risk. The short-term all-cause mortality was significantly higher in patients with PPCs. Conclusions: Curative resection for NSCLC in healthy elderly patients appeared feasible with 10% PPCs. ASA classification ≥3, lower BMI, presence of ILA on CT, and larger extent of resection are predictors of PPC development, which guide treatment decision-making in these patients.
- Elderly patients
- Lung cancer
- Postoperative pulmonary complications