RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: Pulmonary edema and pulmonary hypertension are postsurgical complications of pneumonectomy that may represent the remaining pulmonary vasculature's inability to accommodate the entirety of the cardiac output. Quantification of the aggregate pulmonary vascular cross-sectional area (CSA) has been used to study the development of pulmonary vascular disease in smokers. In this study, we applied this technique to demonstrate the potential utility of pulmonary vascular quantification in surgical risk assessment. Our hypothesis was that those subjects with the lowest aggregate vascular CSA in the nonoperative lung would be most likely to have elevated pulmonary vascular pressures in the postoperative period.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 61 subjects with postoperative hemodynamics and adequate imaging were identified from 159 patients undergoing pneumonectomies for mesothelioma. The total CSA of blood vessels perpendicular to the plane of computed tomographic (CT) scan slices was computed for blood vessels <5 mm(2) (CSA 5 mm). This measurement expressed as a percentage of lung parenchyma area (CSA 5%) was compared to postoperative hemodynamic measurements obtained by right heart catheterization.
RESULTS: In patients where a contrasted CT scan was used (n = 26), CSA 5% was correlated with postoperative day 0 minimum cardiac index (R = 0.37, P = .03) but not with the maximum pulmonary arterial pressures. In patients with noncontrast CT scans (n = 35), CSA 5% was inversely correlated with postoperative day 0 maximum pulmonary arterial pressures (R = 0.43, P = .03) but not with the minimum cardiac index. The preoperative perfusion fraction of the nonsurgical lung did not correlate with postoperative hemodynamics.
CONCLUSIONS: CSA of pulmonary vasculature with an area ≤5 mm(2) has potential in estimating the ability of pulmonary vascular bed to accommodate postsurgical changes in pneumonectomy.