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Open Access Open Badges Case Report

Surgery for lung adenocarcinoma with smokers’ polycythemia: a case report

Yasoo Sugiura1*, Etsuo Nemoto1, Hiromi Shinoda2, Naoya Nakamura3 and Shizuka Kaseda1

Author Affiliations

1 National Hospital Organization, Kanagawa National Hospital, Pulmonary and Thoracic Surgery, 666-1 Ochiai, Hadano, Kanagawa, 257-8585, Japan

2 Isehara Kyodo Hospital, Respiratory Medicine, 2-17-1 Sakuradai, Isehara, Kanagawa, 259-1132, Japan

3 Tokai University Hospital, Division of Pathology, 143 Shimokasuya, Isehara, Kanagawa, 259-1193, Japan

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:38  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-38

Published: 1 February 2013



Smoking is a cause of cancer and polycythemia. Therefore, surgeons who treat patients with cancer may also encounter patients with polycythemia. However, few cases of surgical patients with polycythemia have been reported; in particular, a surgical case involving smokers’ polycythemia has never been reported. We herein report a patient with lung cancer and smokers’ polycythemia who successfully underwent lobectomy with control of hematocrit based on a modified formula in the perioperative period.

Case presentation

A 67-year-old man underwent abdominoperineal resection for rectal carcinoma in June 2008. A ground glass opacity had been identified in the upper lobe of the right lung and was gradually enlarging. In March 2012, bronchoscopic cytology for investigation of the mass revealed non-small cell lung cancer, suggesting primary lung non-small cell carcinoma (T1bN0M0, Stage IA). When he was referred to our hospital for surgery, his complete blood count showed a red blood cell level of 6.50×106/μL, hemoglobin of 21.0 g/dL, and hematocrit of 60.1%. The hematologists’ diagnosis was secondary polycythemia due to heavy smoking (smokers’ polycythemia) because the white blood cell and platelet counts were within normal limits and the erythropoietin was not increased. We calculated the appropriate phlebotomy and infusion volumes based on a formula that we modified. After 550 g of blood was phlebotomized to reduce the hematocrit to approximately 55%, video-assisted right lung upper lobectomy with lymph node dissection was performed in April 2012. The hematocrit was maintained at <50% postoperatively, and the patient was uneventfully discharged on postoperative day 7. The predictive hematocrit and measured hematocrit were very closely approximated in this case.


We experienced a patient with smokers’ polycythemia who underwent right upper lobectomy for adenocarcinoma. The findings in this case report are meaningful for surgeons treating cancer patients because there are few reports discussing the perioperative care of surgical patients with polycythemia.

Smokers’ polycythemia; Phlebotomy; Predictive hematocrit; Lung cancer; Lung lobectomy