Background: Spirometry is a basic test that provides much information about pulmonary function; it is performed preoperatively in almost all patients undergoing colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery in our hospital. However, the value of spirometry as a preoperative test for CRC surgery remains unknown. The aim of this study was to determine whether spirometry is useful to predict postoperative complications (PCs) after CRC surgery. Methods: The medical records of 1236 patients who had preoperative spirometry tests and underwent CRC surgery between 2005 and 2014 were reviewed. Preoperative spirometry results, such as forced vital capacity (FVC), one-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1), %VC (FVC/predicted VC) and FEV1/FVC (%FEV1), were analyzed with regard to PCs, including pneumonia. Results: PCs were found in 383 (30.9%) patients, including 218 (56%) with surgical site infections, 67 (17%) with bowel obstruction, 62 (16%) with leakage and 20 (5.2%) with pneumonia. Of the spirometry results, %VC was correlated with PC according to logistic regression analysis (odds ratio, OR = 0.99, 95% confidence interval, CI = 0.98-0.99; P = 0.034). Multivariate analysis after adjusting for male sex, age, laparoscopic surgery, tumor location, operation time and blood loss showed that a lower %VC tends to be a risk factor for PC (OR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.98-1.002; P = 0.159) and % VC was an independent risk factor for postoperative pneumonia in PCs (OR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.94-0.99; P = 0.049). Conclusions: In CRC surgery, %VC may be a predictor of postoperative complications, especially pneumonia.
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