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Malignant Pleural Effusions : Recent Advances and Ambulatory Sclerotherapy FREE TO VIEW

Edward F. Patz, Jr.
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From the Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

1998 by the American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 1998;113(1_Supplement):74S-77S. doi:10.1378/chest.113.1_Supplement.74S
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Malignant pleural effusions are a common problem in cancer patients with advanced disease. Patients typically present with progressive dyspnea, cough, and/or chest pain that significantly compromises their quality of life. Treatment is often palliative, usually consisting of sequential thoracenteses or tube thoracostomy with or without sclerotherapy. The traditional method of treatment—tube thoracostomy with large-bore chest tubes connected to continuous wall suction—requires hospitalization, is expensive, limits patient mobility, and can cause significant patient discomfort. More recent trials have explored new techniques, including thoracoscopic insufflation of talc and small-bore catheters. Most of these studies have been performed on inpatients, although a recent multi-institutional trial was initiated to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of ambulatory (outpatient) pleural drainage and sclerotherapy using small-bore catheters. All patients fulfilling eligibility criteria had a small-bore catheter placed in the pleural space that was then connected to a closed gravity drainage bag system. When daily tube drainage was <100 mL, sclerotherapy was performed. Response rates at our institution demonstrated 10 patients (53%) had a complete response, 5 (26%) had a partial response, and 4 (21%) had progressive disease at 30-day follow-up. These preliminary results suggest ambulatory sclerotherapy is a safe, viable alternative to conventional inpatient treatment of malignant pleural effusions in a select group of patients.




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