Fifty years of thoracic surgical research in South Africa

  • A Linegar
  • F Smit
  • P Goldstraw
  • G van Zyl


Aim. To investigate the scope and trends in clinical research in
South African thoracic surgery between 1955 and 2006 and to
measure its impact on clinical practice.
Method. A systematic review of all SA thoracic surgical
publications was performed.
Results. There were 252 general thoracic publications and a
marked decrease in publications was noted after the peak
period of productivity of the 1980s. There was a shift toward
the private sector as an origin of articles and toward a local,
non-indexed journal. Inflammatory lung disease was the
most frequent topic of publication. Case series and case
reports were the most frequent type of article.
Conclusion. The vulnerability of a small specialty in a
developing country is illustrated by the clear trends that
emerged. The study provides important indicators for future
research, highlights the need for a national database of clinical
experience, and emphasises the importance of rekindling
interest and a culture of research in thoracic surgery.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135