Serious mental illness is associated with longer hospital stays among patients undergoing lung cancer resection, according to a poster presentation at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) Annual Meeting. 

Researchers analyzed data from 615 patients who underwent lung resection from January 2013 to June 2021 at a single institution. Chart reviews, assisted by natural language processing, identified patients with comorbid serious mental illness. 

A total of 186 patients had a serious mental illness, including mood disorders (n=168), psychosis disorders (n=22), and anxiety disorders (n=101).

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Compared to patients without serious mental illness, those with mental illness were significantly more likely to be younger (P =.018), female (P =.0057), diabetic (P =.048), and current or former smokers (P =.024).

There were no significant differences in types of surgery between patients with mental illness and those without it. Rates of lobectomy (88.2% vs 84.8%), segmentectomy (5.4% in both groups), bilobectomy (1.6% vs 5.1%), pneumonectomy (4.8% in both arms), and robotic surgery (12.4% vs 19.4%) were not significantly different between the groups. 

However, lung cancer patients with serious mental illness had longer hospital stays after surgery. The median length of stay was 6.61 days in patients with mental illness and 5.87 days in patients without it. 

Significant predictors of an increased length of stay included serious mental illness (relative risk [RR], 1.21), lobectomy (RR, 1.32), bilobectomy (RR, 1.78), pneumonectomy (RR, 2.25), and male sex (RR, 1.23).  

“In a 7.5-year period from a single academic institution, patients undergoing lung cancer resection had high rates of SMI [serious mental illness],” the researchers wrote in their poster. “SMI is a risk factor for longer hospital length of stay following lung cancer resection.”


Diehl JN, Khoury A, Brickey J, et al. Serious mental illness prolongs hospital admission following lung cancer resection. AATS 2023. May 5-9, 2023. Abstract PS66.