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Mediastinoscopy and bronchial carcinoma: experience with 600 mediastinoscopies.
  1. L K Lacquet,
  2. A Mertens,
  3. J V Kleef,
  4. C Jongerius


    Of 600 mediastinoscopies carried out from 1966 to 1973, 479 were performed to assess the operability of a pulmonary carcinoma. Of these, 206 (43%) were positive and 273 (57%) were negative. Of the 161 patients found positive during an initial period, 147 were refused operation; the remaining 14 were considered suitable candidates for operation, either because only one homolateral lymph node site was involved or because there was a concomitant osteoarthropathy. The tumour was irresectable in one of these 14 patients who died after 3-5 months; curative resection was possible in one and palliative resection in 12 patients. These 12 patients all died within a year. Of the 184 patients found negative during an initial period, 149 were treated by operation. The tumour proved irresectable in seven (5%), while curative resection was possible in 113 (76%) and palliative resection in 29 (19%) patients. Comparison with the period 1957-63, when in the same hospital resection was performed after a negative Daniels' (scalene node) biopsy, shows that the tumour was irresectable in 25 (20%) of the 124 patients with a negative biopsy, while curative resection was possible in 43 (35%) and palliative resection in 56 (45%) patients. During a second period, patients with a positive mediastinoscopy were in principle refused operation. Of 89 negative patients, 81 were treated by operation. No tumour was found to be irresectable; curative resection was possible in 63 (78%) and palliative resection in 18 (22%) patients. An operation for bronchial carcinoma was performed on 167 patients between September 1970 and September 1973 after a negative mediastinoscopy in 95, and without mediastinoscopy in 71 patients, either because of a peripheral tumour (70) or because of a tumour relapse after two years (1). The resection was palliative in 11% of the 71 cases, but in only one patient with a peripheral tumour could a mediastinoscopy have been positive. Finally, an operation was performed on one patient with a positive mediastinoscopy and a tumour relapse after six years. A survival study was made of the first 100 patients with pulmonary carcinoma, operated on between September 1970 and March 1972 and with a follow-up from a minumum of two years to a maximum of 3-5 years. The early mortality averaged 10% and was higher after pneumonectomy than after lobectomy. The late mortality was 16% after curative lobectomy, 38% after curative pneumonectomy, and 83% after palliative pneumonectomy. The survival after 2 to 3-5 years was 63%.

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