Key messages

• Complications following lung resection can be prevented or anticipated by careful preoperative assessment and selection.

• Preoperative use of bronchodilators and energetic treatment of lung infection should be considered.

• Smaller wounds and minimal distraction of ribs lessen postoperative pain.

• A balance needs to be struck between overhydration and dehydration with thickened bronchial secretions.

• An effective method for pain relief after thoracotomy is well-supervised epidural anesthesia.

• Diuretics are often used without good evidence of any benefit.

• The routine use of digoxin to prevent arrhythmias is contoversial.

• While prolonged postoperative positive airways pressure should be avoided following lung resection, a number of patients may benefit from short-term assisted ventilation.

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