Objective: To review our experience with bilateral video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) for the treatment of bilateral spontaneous pneumothorax (SP).
Design: Retrospective study followed by a telephone interview for follow-up.
Setting: Thoracic Surgery Department, Chest Diseases Hospital, Kuwait.
Patient and interventions: Fifteen patients undergoing bilateral VATS for bilateral SP from 1994 to 1999.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 22.9 years (range, 17 to 34 years), and 14 were men. All patients were successfully treated using the bilateral video-assisted technique. Operative indications included simultaneous bilateral pneumothorax (n = 7) and contralateral recurrence of SP (n = 8). Twelve patients had primary SP. In the three remaining patients, simultaneous bilateral SP was secondary to sarcoidosis in two patients and histiocytosis X in one patient. Eleven patients had multiple blebs or bullae located in the upper lobes, and 4 patients had no blebs. All blebs or bullae were resected. All patients had gauze pleurodesis. The mean ± SD operative time was 133.6 ± 9.1 min. There were no perioperative complications and no deaths attributable to the procedure. Postoperative prolonged air leak occurred in three patients (20%). The mean drainage time was 3 days (range, 2 to 8 days). The mean postoperative hospital stay was 5 ± 1.7 days. Mean follow-up was 3.3 years (range, 2 to 5 years) for all patients. Pneumothorax recurred in one patient with histiocytosis X after 1 month and required a reoperation on the right side.
Conclusions: Bilateral VATS is a safe procedure in the treatment of simultaneous and nonsimultaneous bilateral SP. This avoids the need for subsequent operations.