Thoracic surgical procedures in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Sean M. Caples, James P. Utz, Mark S. Allen, Jay H. Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with a variety of pleuropulmonary manifestations, some of which require surgical intervention. We investigated the spectrum of indications and results, as well as outcome associated with thoracic surgical procedures in rheumatoid patients. Methods. Identification and retrospective review of medical records of 100 patients with RA at a tertiary-referral medical center undergoing thoracic surgical procedures over a 24-year period from January 1, 1976, to December 31, 1999. Results. Sixty-four patients underwent surgical lung biopsy for localized lung lesions, 57 of which were nodules or masses; 24 lesions proved to be malignant. Surgical lung biopsy was undertaken in 40 patients for diffuse interstitial lung disease, 4 cases of which were found to be infectious. Five other patients underwent surgery for pleural disease, 3 of which proved to be benign pleuritis. Conclusion. Patients with rheumatoid disease undergo thoracic surgical procedures for a variety of indications, including benign and malignant localized lesions and pleural disease as well as diffuse parenchymal lung disease. The overall in-hospital mortality rate was low. However, the subgroup with diffuse interstitial lung disease was found to have a 20% in-hospital death rate following surgical lung biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2136-2141
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Lung diseases
  • Pleural diseases
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thoracic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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