Background: The identification of the intersegmental plane (ISP) is a crucial step in segmentectomy for children with congenital pulmonary airway malformation (CPAM) due to complex anatomical variations. However, there is very limited literature available on this aspect specifically for infant. In this study, we compared the intravenous indocyanine green (ICG)-guided near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging method with the modified inflation-deflation method in terms of their perioperative characteristics and summarized our experience.

Methods: From June 2021 to November 2022, the data of 83 patients with CPAM who underwent segmentectomy by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery were retrospectively reviewed. Twenty-eight patients underwent ICG-guided NIRF method, and 56 patients underwent the modified inflation-deflation method, characteristics and clinical outcomes were compared.

Results: The median age of the patients was 4.99 months (4.99 ± 1.51) with a mean body weight of 7.54 kg (7.54 ± 1.99). Both methods could accurately identify the ISP. The time taken to clearly display the ISP was shorter in ICG group than in the modified inflation-deflation group (0.18 ± 0.08 vs. 6.49 ± 1.67 min; P < 0.001), and the surgical duration (61.32 ± 14.28 vs. 88.18 ± 8.03 min; P < 0.001) were significantly shorter in the ICG group too. The two groups exhibited differences in the length of chest tube drainage (1.75 ± 1.24 vs. 2.36 ± 1.54 days; P = 0.072) and the length of hospital stay (4.61 ± 1.75 vs. 5.20 ± 3.07 days; P = 0.078), however, the differences were not statistically significant. There were no significant differences between the two groups in the blood lost and postoperative complications. At a follow-up of more than 1 year after operation, all patients had recovered well without recurrence.

Conclusions: According to our experience, the ICG-guided NIRF method was safe and feasible for infants during thoracoscopic segmentectomy, it can quickly display the ISP and shorten the surgical duration compared with the modified inflation-deflation method.

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