Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Post-pneumonectomy syndrome: a systematic review of the current evidence and treatment options

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posted on 2023-04-25, 14:49 authored by Natasha Christodoulides, Gerard J Fitzmaurice, Irmina Bukowska, Eoin O'Rhaillaigh, Conor Toale, Michael Griffin, Karen C Redmond

Objectives: Post-pneumonectomy syndrome (PPS) is rare and predominantly characterised by dynamic airway obstruction due to mediastinal rotation at any time point following pneumonectomy. The objective of this systematic review was to identify the optimal treatment strategy for PPS based on subjective symptomatic relief, objective radiological imaging, and treatment durability.

Methods: A systematic review was performed up to and including February 2022 based on the "Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses" guidelines. All studies that presented the management of symptomatic patients > 16 years of age with radiologically confirmed PPS were included. The primary outcome was the identification of the optimal treatment strategy and the secondary outcome was durability of the treatment. The Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine level was assigned to each study.

Results: A total of 330 papers were identified and reviewed; 41 studies met the inclusion criteria. Data including patient demographics, indication for initial pneumonectomy, presenting symptoms, management approach, outcomes, and follow-up were assessed and analysed. Management approaches were divided into three categories: (a) mediastinal repositioning using implant prostheses; (b) endobronchial stenting; (c) other corrective procedures. One hundred and four patients were identified in total and of those, 87 underwent mediastinal repositioning with insertion of a prosthetic implant. Complications included over- or under-filling of the prosthesis (8.5%) and implant leakage (8.9%).

Conclusion: Management of PPS using a prosthetic implant to reposition the mediastinum is the treatment of choice. Key adjuncts to optimise surgical approach and minimise complications include pre-operative CT volumetric analysis to guide implant size and intra-operative transoesophageal echocardiography to guide mediastinal repositioning.



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Published Citation

Christodoulides N, et al. Post-pneumonectomy syndrome: a systematic review of the current evidence and treatment options. J Cardiothorac Surg. 2023;18(1):119.

Publication Date

10 April 2023

PubMed ID



Springer Nature


  • Published Version (Version of Record)