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Auckland DHB Cardiothoracic and Vascular Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit

Public Service

Pneumonectomy

Removal of an entire lung, e.g . in the presence of bronchogenic cancer.

Once the lung is removed, the involved side of the thoracic cavity is an empty cavity. To reduce the size of this cavity, the phrenic nerve is severed or crushed on the affected side; this paralyses the diaphragm in an elevated position. Blood and serosanguineous fluid is allowed to accumulate in the cavity. This eventually consolidates, preventing mediastinal shift of the heart and remaining lung. Chest drains are placed post-operatively. These remain clamped.

This page was last updated at 9:35AM on October 24, 2019.