(HealthDay News) – Heavier patients undergoing lobectomy for lung cancer require more time in the operating room, regardless of a hospital’s volume of obese patients or lobectomies, according to a study published in the December issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Jamii B. St. Julien, MD, MPH, from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, and colleagues examined the impact of body mass index (BMI) on total operating room time in 19,337 patients with primary lung cancer (25.3% having a BMI of >30kg/m²) who underwent lobectomy from 2006–2010.

The researchers found that mean operating room time increased by 7.2 minutes for every 10-unit increase in BMI. This association was not affected by hospital lobectomy volume or hospital percentage of obese patients. There was no association found between BMI and 30-day mortality or increased length of stay.

“If the prevalence of obesity continues to rise, a greater number of patients undergoing lobectomies for lung cancer will likely be obese,” St. Julien and colleagues write. “Thus, we have identified a significant source of increased health care costs that must be considered on both a hospital and a national health policy level.”

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