Evaluation of efficacy, tolerance and complications of the Blake tubes introduced in the pleural space through a small cutaneous incision in cases of hemothorax and pneumothorax compared with conventional chest tubes.
A prospective randomized controlled study was carried out in a year term. Twenty patients admitted to the Thoracic Surgical Section of the Hospital Universitario de Caracas fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Those patients were randomly assigned in two groups equally distributed (10 with Blake tubes and 10 with conventional chest tube). Each group had 5 patients with hemothorax and 5 with pneumothorax. The tubes were inserted following the open technique. Pulmonary re-expansion, magnitude of hemothorax, effective drainage, in-hospital stay, pain tube related, use of analgesics and complications of the procedure were taken in consideration for statistical analysis.
Both groups had a therapeutic success of 100 %. Effective drainage and in-hospital stay had no statistical difference among the groups. However there was less pain and less use of analgesics in the group of patients with pneumothorax drained with the Blake tube (p= 0.05 and 0.03 respectively). No difference among the patients with hemothorax was observed, probably related to the etiology of the problem. There were two complications with Blake tubes (obstruction, resolved with a syringe) and one with the conventional drainage (atelectasis)CONCLUSIONS: Blake tubes showed a satisfactory function, similar to the conventional chest tubes, with similar rate of complications. However, better tolerated in the cases of pneumothorax. It is necessary to increase the size of the sample including other pathologies, in order to establish the real usefulness of the Blake tubes for drainage of the pleural space.
The use of Blake tubes for the pleural space seems to be an alternative for the drainage of the pleural space, with probable better tolerance. However, further studies are needed in order to stablish its real utility.
N.J. Rebolledo, None.