Comparison of efficacy between video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and thoracotomy in children with mediastinal tumors: 6-year experience

Min Da, Wei Peng, Xuming Mo, Ming Fan, Kaihong Wu, Jian Sun, Jirong Qi, Yuxi Zhang


Background: Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) has been increasingly used in pediatric patients. We evaluated the outcomes of VATS and thoracotomy for pediatric mediastinal tumors.
Methods: A total of 137 patients who underwent surgery for mediastinal tumors at our department from March 2012 to September 2018 were recruited in this retrospective study. Forty-three patients were treated by VATS and ninety-four underwent thoracotomy (two patients who underwent open surgery were excluded from the study because they were lost to follow-up). Data including demographic information, tumor characteristics, operative time, conversion of surgery, blood transfusion, postoperative hospital stay, mortality and recurrence were collected and compared between the two groups.
Results: No significant difference was found in gender, age, weight and tumor distribution between the two groups. The number of patients with malignant tumors who underwent thoracotomy was significantly higher than those who received VATS (78.0% vs. 22.0%, P=0.04). Patients received thoracotomy had significantly larger mean tumor diameter than those who underwent VATS (7.6±3.8 vs. 4.4±1.7 cm, P<0.001). The intraoperative transfusion rate in the thoracotomy group was significantly higher than that in the VATS group (67.4% vs. 14.0%, P<0.001), so was the amount of blood transfusion (148.1±150.7 vs. 23.3±61.1 mL, P<0.001). The VATS group had significantly shorter operative time as compared with the thoracotomy group (94.3±40.9 vs. 133.5±72.1 min, P=0.002). During follow-up, local recurrence was found in 8 (8.7%) patients who underwent thoracotomy, and no significant difference was found in local recurrence rate between the two groups. Four patients who underwent thoracotomy died, and no significant difference was found in mortality between two groups.
Conclusions: Due to less blood transfusion, shorter operative time and postoperative hospital stay, VATS is a safer surgical treatment for pediatric mediastinal tumors than thoracotomy.