Preoperative pulmonary function test results in 258 patients who underwent pulmonary resection for bronchogenic carcinoma were studied in relation to postoperative mortality from cardiopulmonary complications. Poor outcome of surgery was related to the maximal breathing capacity value below 59 per cent of the predicted normal, age over sixty-nine years, and abnormal electrocardiographic findings. Combinations of these factors were associated with a very high mortality (56 per cent). This group of patients needs further evaluation on an individual basis to identify the risk of pulmonary resection. A formula to predict the risk of surgery based on the maximal breathing capacity value is suggested. Values for one second forced expiratory volume and vital capacity were of no use in predicting the outcome of surgery.
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