Uptake of Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Lung Resections Within the Veterans Affairs for Known or Suspected Lung Cancer.


Minimally invasive lobectomy for early-stage lung cancer has become more prevalent. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery has lower rates of morbidity, better long-term survival, and equivalent oncologic outcomes compared with thoracotomy. However, little has been published on the use and outcomes of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery within Veterans Affairs. There is a public assumption that the the Veterans Affairs is slow to adopt new procedures and technologies.

To determine the uptake of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery within the Veterans Affairs for patients with known or suspected lung cancer.

In this retrospective cohort study of national Veterans Affairs Corporate Data Warehouse data from January 2002 to December 2015, a total of 11 004 veterans underwent lung resection for known or suspected lung cancer. Data were analyzed from March to November 2018.

Open or video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy or wedge resection.

Patient demographic characteristics and procedure and diagnosis International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes were abstracted from Corporate Data Warehouse data.

Of the 11 004 included veterans, 10 587 (96.2%) were male, and the median (interquartile range) age was 66.0 (61.0-72.0) years. Of 11 004 included procedures, 8526 (77.5%) were lobectomies and 2478 (22.5%) were wedge resections. The proportion of video-assisted thoracoscopic lung resections increased steadily from 15.6% in 2002 to 50.6% in 2015. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery use by Veterans Integrated Service Networks ranged from 0% to 81.7%, and higher Veterans Integrated Service Network volume was correlated with higher video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery use (Pearson r = 0.35; 95% CI, 0.15-0.52; P < .001). Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery use and rate of uptake varied widely across Veteran Affairs regions (P < .001 by Wilcoxon signed rank test).

Paralleling academic hospitals, most lung resections are now performed in the Veterans Affairs using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. More research is needed to identify reasons behind the heterogeneous uptake of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery across Veterans Affairs regions.

  • Denton J
  • Deppen SA
  • Gillaspie EA
  • Grogan EL
  • Maiga AW
  • Matheny ME
  • Nesbitt JC
PubMed ID
Appears In
JAMA Surg, 2019, 154 (6)