There is no consensus on the risk of thrombotic events following video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) versus open thoracotomy (OT), despite multiple studies. In fact, the estimates for the overall thrombotic risk for VATS versus OT are inconclusive. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we endeavoured to ascertain the best estimate of thrombotic risk in VATS versus OT.
Relevant studies were searched through PubMed and Cochrane Library database. Outcomes of interests were myocardial infarction (MI), pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Data were pooled using random-effects model. The results were presented as odds ratio (OR) with the corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).
Nineteen studies were meta-analysed: 17 observational studies and 2 randomized controlled trials. Using propensity-matched data, in comparison with OT, VATS was associated with a statistically significant, postoperative reduction in MI (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.39-0.91; P¿=¿0.017), DVT/PE (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.44-0.61; P¿<¿0.001), PE (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.43-0.82; P¿=¿0.001) and DVT (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.35-0.64; P¿<¿0.001). Unadjusted data showed no statistical differences for all outcomes. The risk of DVT/PE (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.42-0.72; P¿<¿0.001), but not the other outcomes, remained significantly lower following the exclusion of the sole large study. There is no significant statistical heterogeneity between the included studies.
Overall, the postoperative thrombotic risk following VATS is significantly lower than OT. Further prospective randomized controlled trials with large sample sizes are warranted to corroborate our findings.