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Non-Intubated Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery

Published: May 26th, 2023



1Department of Anesthesia, Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, 2Department of Anesthesia, The First Affiliated Hospital of Ningbo University, 3Health Science Center, Ningbo University
* These authors contributed equally

Here, we present a non-intubated protocol for performing video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery with preserved autonomic breathing.

Double-lumen intubation under general anesthesia is currently the most commonly performed intubation technique for pneumonectomy, wedge resection of the lung, and lobectomy. However, there is a high incidence of pulmonary complications arising from general anesthesia with tracheal intubation. Non-intubation with the preservation of voluntary breathing is an alternative to anesthesia. Non-intubation procedures minimize the adverse effects of tracheal intubation and general anesthesia, such as intubation-related airway trauma, ventilation-induced lung injury, residual neuromuscular blockade, and post-operative nausea and vomiting. However, the steps for non-intubation procedures are not detailed in many studies. Here, we present a concise non-intubated protocol for the performance of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery with preserved autonomic breathing. This article identifies the conditions necessary to convert from non-intubated to intubated anesthesia and also discusses the advantages and limitations of non-intubated anesthesia. In this work, this intervention was performed on 58 patients. In addition, the results of a retrospective study are presented. Compared with intubated general anesthesia, patients in the non-intubated video-assisted thoracic surgery group had lower rates of post-operative pulmonary complications, shorter operative times, less intraoperative blood loss, shorter PACU stays, a lower number of days to chest drain removal, less post-operative drainage, and shorter hospital stays.

In the past decade, non-intubated video-assisted thoracic surgery (NIVATS) anesthesia has gradually been accepted in clinical practice1,2,3. Although this novel strategy enhances the rapid recovery of patients and avoids the complications of general anesthesia (GA) and one-lung ventilation4, many surgeons regard this approach as less desirable than the traditional lung isolation technique.

Blood oxygen levels decline with age, and some patients may have decreased or borderline pulmonary function. GA may be associated with an....

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The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Affiliated Hospital of Ningbo University School of Medicine (KY20181215) on December 10, 2018.

1. Inclusion criteria

  1. Include all patients (aged >18 years) undergoing pulmonary bullae resection, pulmonary wedge resection, or lobectomy.

2. Exclusion criteria

  1. Exclude patients based on an American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status c.......

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Clinical data were retrospectively collected on 58 consecutive patients undergoing non-intubated video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery from January 2016 to December 2022. The patients were given a preoperative visit by the anesthesiologist and provided with a detailed explanation of the contents of the anesthesia informed consent form prior to the anesthesia. The patients were allowed to choose one of the two groups (the NIVATS group or GA group) of anesthesia, and they signed an informed consent form.

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The advantages of this protocol are as follows: (i) providing a sevoflurane inhalation anesthesia regimen to reduce the cough reflex during thoracoscopic surgery; (ii) minimizing over-sedation while providing a safe and pain-free operating environment for patients undergoing thoracic surgery; (iii) minimizing the patient's spontaneous breathing and mediastinal oscillations during the procedure, taking into account the associated technical challenges. This was achieved by providing pre-emptive intraoperative local ane.......

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This work was supported by the third batch of the Ningbo Health Youth Technical Cadre program (Dr. Binbin Zhu), and the Zhejiang Medical Association Clinical Research Fund Project (Dr. Bin Gao) (2018ZYC-A66).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
20-G top-winged infusion needle BD Intima II 383012 Puncture with a 20-G top-winged infusion needle into the dorsal vein of the non-operative side of the hand.
24-G top-winged infusion needle BD Intima II 383033 Thoracoscopic vagal block techniques
Anesthesia machine Drager A300 Maintenance of respiratory function; Inhalation anesthesia; Monitor for electrocardiography, blood pressure, pulse oxygen saturation (SpO2), end-tidal carbon dioxide and respiratory rate
Atropine Jiuquan Dadeli Pharma H62020772 Control of heart rate
BIS COVIDIEN B277243 Monitor the level of consciousness
Disposable nerve block needle Tuoren Medical Device  202303007 Nerve block
Facial mask Emedica EM01-105S Provides an effective non-invasive breathing circuit
Fentanyl. Renfu Pharma 21D04021 Analgesia
Flurbiprofen Daan Pharma H20183054 Analgesia
Laryngeal mask  Ambu Aura-i 2012-2664652 Airway management to preserve voluntary breathing
Levobupivacaine Rundu Pharma H20050403 Local Anaesthesia
Lidocaine Kelun Pharma F221129C Local skin infiltration
Norepinephrine Lijun Pharma H61021666 Control of blood pressure
Portable color doppler ultrasound SonoSite M-Turbo Guided nerve block
Propofol Guorui Pharma H20030114 Sedation and hypnosis
Ropivacaine Aspen Pharma 6091403219940 Paravertebral nerve block
Saline Kelun Pharma c221201E1 Assisted subsonic localisation
Sevoflurane  Shanghai Hengrui Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd 9081931 Anesthesia induction and maintenance
Sufentanil Jiangsu Enhua Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd H20203650 Postoperative analgesia

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