operating roomThe bigger the patient, the longer their total operating room time, regardless of institutional experience with obese patients, according to researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

In looking at a total of 19,337 patients with primary lung cancer who underwent lobectomy and had a mean BMI of 27.3 kg/m2 (25.3% of patients had a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater), researchers found that for every 10-unit increase in BMI, mean operating room time increased by 7.2 minutes.

Higher hospital lobectomy volume and hospital percentage of obese patients did not affect the association between BMI and operative time. Body mass index was not associated with 30-day mortality or increased length of stay.

The mean total OR time was 240 minutes and the mean length of stay in hospital was 6.9 days. OR times rose incrementally with increasing BMI above the obesity threshold, report the researchers, such that a lobectomy in a patient with a BMI of 45 kg/m2 took approximately 15 minutes longer than one in a patient with a BMI of 25 kg/m.2

“If the prevalence of obesity continues to rise, a greater number of patients undergoing lobotomies for lung cancer will likely be obese,” the authors conclude, adding that the data “must be considered on both a hospital and a national policy level.”