Postpneumonectomy bronchopleural fistula: analysis of risk factors and the role of bronchial stump coverage

  • Marco Mammana
  • Giuseppe MarulliEmail author
  • Andrea Zuin
  • Egle Perissinotto
  • Giovanni Maria Comacchio
  • Elisa De Franceschi
  • Federico Rea
Original Article



Bronchopleural fistula (BPF) is a potentially fatal complication of pneumonectomy. We analyze its occurrence rate, risk factors, and the methods used for its prevention.


We reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent pneumonectomy at our Institution between January, 1990 and March, 2016. The risk factors for postoperative BPF were analyzed by univariate analysis and multiple logistic regression.


Over the study period, 511 patients underwent pneumonectomy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and had the bronchus closed by manual suturing. BPF developed in 23 patients (4.5%). Multiple logistic regression identified no coverage of the bronchial stump, right-sided pneumonectomy, residual tumor in the bronchial stump, postoperative ventilatory support, and completion pneumonectomy, as independent risk factors for BPF. The cumulative rate of BPF decreased significantly over time from 18% between 1990 and 1995 to 1% between 2011 and 2016 (p < 0.001). Concurrently, the data of several patients showed a significant positive trend over time, including bronchial stump coverage (BSC).


Several known risk factors for BPF were confirmed. The more frequent usage of tissue flaps for coverage of the bronchial stump may have contributed to the reduction in the rate of postoperative BPF over time.


Bronchopleural fistula Pneumonectomy Complications Flap coverage Risk factors 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Mammana
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Marulli
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andrea Zuin
    • 1
  • Egle Perissinotto
    • 3
  • Giovanni Maria Comacchio
    • 1
  • Elisa De Franceschi
    • 1
  • Federico Rea
    • 1
  1. 1.Thoracic Surgery Unit, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular SciencesUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Thoracic Surgery Unit, Department of Emergency and Organ TransplantationUniversity Hospital of BariBariItaly
  3. 3.Biostatistic Unit, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular SciencesUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly

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