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Association between thoracic epidural block and major complications after pleurectomy/decortication for malignant pleural mesothelioma under general anesthesia


Introduction A curative-intent surgical procedure, pleurectomy/decortication, for malignant pleural mesothelioma is accompanied by a high incidence of major postoperative complications. Although epidural block, which suppresses nociception during and after surgery, reportedly has both benefits and disadvantages in terms of outcomes after thoracic surgery for other diseases, the effects of epidural block on major complications after pleurectomy/decortication have not been evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between epidural block and major postoperative complications following pleurectomy/decortication.

Methods In a single-institutional observational study, consecutive adult patients undergoing pleurectomy/decortication under general anesthesia were enrolled from March 2019 to December 2021. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the association between perioperative variables and major complications. Next, patients were divided into two groups: general anesthesia with and without epidural block. Incidences of major postoperative complications, defined as Clavien-Dindo grades≥III, were compared between groups.

Results In all patients enrolled with American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status II or III (n=99), general anesthesia without epidural block was identified as a sole risk factor for major complications among perioperative variables. The incidence of major complications was 32.3% (95% CI 19.1% to 49.2%) in patients with epidural block (n=34), which was significantly lower than 63.1% (95% CI 50.9% to 73.8%) in patients with epidural block (n=65). In sensitivity analysis in patients with ASA physical status II alone, the same results were obtained.

Conclusion Epidural block is likely associated with reduction of the incidence of major complications after pleurectomy/decortication for malignant pleural mesothelioma under general anesthesia.

  • analgesia
  • outcome assessment, health care
  • postoperative complications
  • regional anesthesia

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Not applicable.

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