Perioperative oral care intervention may be connected to shorter hospital stays for patients undergoing lung cancer surgery, according to results of a new study published in Supportive Care in Cancer.1

Patients undergoing surgery for lung cancer are at risk of postoperative infections of the respiratory tract, but much has been unclear regarding impacts of oral health on outcomes associated with this type of operation.

The study was a retrospective analysis of outcomes after lung resection in 585 patients with lung cancer who were treated at the Yamagata University Hospital in Yamagata, Japan. Postoperative complications and postoperative hospital stays were compared between 397 patients who were given perioperative oral care intervention and 188 patients who were not.

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Patients who received oral care intervention had mean hospital stays of 7.8 days, whereas those without this intervention had significantly longer hospital stays, averaging 9.7 days (P =.016). Oral care intervention also showed an association with shorter postoperative hospital stays in a multivariate analysis (P =.027).

Several other factors were found to have significant associations with longer hospital stays following surgery, including advanced age, more invasive operations, surgical bleeding, and the presence of postoperative complications.

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The researchers found that 3.4% of patients overall had postoperative pneumonia or empyema. Postoperative infections of the respiratory tract did show a trend with the absence of perioperative oral care intervention, but this relationship was not statistically significant (odds ratio, 2.448; 95% CI, 0.966-6.204; P =.059). Advanced age and a longer time spent in surgery were independent risk factors for postoperative respiratory infections, according to a multivariate analysis.

The researchers concluded that this study showed an association between perioperative oral care intervention and shorter hospitalizations following lung cancer surgery. They also indicated that further studies should explore other possible risk factors that may exist for this outcome.


Ishikawa S, Yamamori I, Takamori S, et al. Evaluation of effects of perioperative oral care intervention on hospitalization stay and postoperative infection in patients undergoing lung cancer intervention [published online April 22, 2020]. Support Care Cancer. doi:10.1007/s00520-020-05450-9