Background: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy has recently been adopted as the gold standard surgical option for the treatment of early stage non-small cell lung cancer. Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is being progressively adopted in thoracic surgery to improve the postoperative outcomes. Even if the benefits of ERAS are universally accepted, to date a standardized and uniform approach has not been described in the medical literature. The Italian VATS group has recently proposed to include in the VATS lobectomy database a structured protocol for ERAS.
Methods: The ERAS section of the Italian VATS group is proposing a comprehensive ERAS protocol within the VATS lobectomy database, allowing the prospective collection of a dedicated set of data. Separate sections of the protocol are dedicated to different topics of ERAS. This study is specifically dedicated to the section of physiokinesis therapy. The medical literature will be extensively reviewed and a physiotherapy (PT) protocol of ERAS will be presented and discussed. A seta of structured clinical pathways will also be suggested for adoption in the VATS Group database.
Discussion: Pre- and post-operative adoption of an ERAS protocol in patients undergoing VATS lobectomy may promote an improved post-operative course, a shorter hospital stay and an overall more comfortable patients' experience. The mainstays of a physiokinesis therapy ERAS protocol are patients' education, constant physical and respiratory therapy sessions, and adoption of adequate devices. Although many studies have investigated the usefulness of physical and respiratory physiokinesis therapy, a comprehensive ERAS protocol for VATS lobectomy patients has not yet been described. The proposed ERAS platform, adopted by the VATS Group database, will contribute to a prospective data collection and allow a scientific analysis of the results.