Identifying the limitations of cardiopulmonary exercise testing prior to esophagectomy using a pooled analysis of patient-level data

Jonathan Sivakumar, Matthew J. Forshaw, Stephen Lam, Christopher J. Peters, William H. Allum, Jessica Whibley, Rhona C. F. Sinclair, Christopher P. Snowden, Michael W. Hii, Harry Sivakumar, Matthew Read

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Preoperative cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) provides an objective assessment of aerobic fitness in patients undergoing surgery. While peak oxygen uptake during exercise (VO2peak) and anaerobic threshold have demonstrated a moderate correlation with the development of complications following esophagectomy, no clinically useful threshold values have been defined. By pooling patient level data from existing studies, we aimed to define optimal thresholds for preoperative CPET parameters to predict patients at high risk of postoperative complications. Studies reporting on the relationship between preoperative CPET variables and post-esophagectomy complications were determined from a comprehensive literature search. Patient-level data were obtained from six contributing centers for pooled-analyses. Outcomes of interest included cardiopulmonary and non-cardiopulmonary complications, unplanned intensive care unit readmission, and 90-day and 12-month all-cause mortality. Receiver operating characteristic curves and logistic regression models estimated the predictive value of CPET parameters for each individual outcome of interest. This analysis comprised of 621 patients who underwent CPET prior to esophagectomy during the period from January 2004 to March 2017. For both anaerobic threshold and VO2peak, none of the receiver operating characteristic curves achieved an area under the curve value > 0.66 for the outcomes of interest. The discriminatory ability of CPET for determining high-risk patients was found to be poor in patients undergoing an esophagectomy. CPET may only carry an adjunct role to clinical decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdoac005
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number11
Early online date9 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • cancer
  • esophagectomy
  • esophagus
  • risk assessment

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