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Laboratory and Animal Investigations |

Talc Preparations Used for Pleurodesis Vary Markedly From One Preparation to Another*

Jaume Ferrer, MD; Marian A. Villarino, MD; Josep M. Tura, PhD; Adolf Traveria, PhD; Richard W. Light, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Servei de Pneumologia (Drs. Ferrer and Villarino), Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain; the Consell Superior d’Investigacions Cientifiques (Dr. Tura), Barcelona, Spain; the Institut Jaume Almera (Dr. Traveria), Barcelona, Spain; and the Department of Medicine (Dr. Light), Saint Thomas Hospital and the Center for Lung Research, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

Correspondence to: Richard W. Light, MD, FCCP, Director of Pulmonary Disease Program, Saint Thomas Hospital, PO Box 380, 4220 Harding Rd, Nashville, TN;



Chest. 2001;119(6):1901-1905. doi:10.1378/chest.119.6.1901
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Background: At the present time, talc is the one of the agents most commonly used for the production of a pleurodesis. However, there have been several recent reports of acute pneumonitis developing after the intrapleural administration of talc. The incidence of pneumonitis has varied markedly from center to center.

Objective: To compare the physical characteristics of talc used for the production of pleurodesis in various localities.

Design: Eight talc preparations (four from the United States, and one each from Brazil, France, Spain, and Taiwan) were analyzed for the distribution of the particle size and the type and amount of impurities.

Measurements: The physical characteristics of the talc specimens were determined using radiograph diffraction and scanning electron microscopy.

Results: The mean and median particle size varied by more than a factor of three among the eight different talc preparations. In addition, the impurities of the different talc preparations were quite varied.

Conclusions: We conclude that there is marked variation in the physical characteristics of the talc preparations used intrapleurally for the production of a pleurodesis. We speculate that different incidences of acute pneumonitis at various centers after intrapleural administration of talc may be due to differences in the physical characteristics of the talc preparations used for pleurodesis.

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