PURPOSE: Pleural effusion is a common clinical problem that frequently causes dyspnea and limits exercise capacity. Thoracentesis is a procedure useful to relieve dyspnea and symptoms that limit daily life activities. The 6-minute walk test (6MWT) is used to evaluate submaximal exercise capacity. The aim of this study was to determine whether a therapeutic thoracentesis was able to improve exercise capacity.
METHODS: Thirteen symptomatic patients with large pleural effusion had their exercise capacity evaluated by the 6MWT before and 48 hours after therapeutic thoracentesis. The Modified Borg Dyspnea Scale (MBS) was applied before and after each 6MWT. Paired t test was used to compare results (p < 0.05).
RESULTS: Results are expressed in mean and standard deviation as shown in the figure. The drained pleural effusion volume was 1569 ± 628 ml. The distance walked was 455 ± 87 m before and 504 ± 78 m after (p < 0.001). Although the mean values of dyspnea scores through MBS tended to decrease after thoracentesis there was no statistical difference.
CONCLUSION: Forty eight hours after thoracentesis, the 6MWT was able to demonstrate significant improvement in exercise capacity in symptomatic patients with pleural effusion.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: After therapeutic thoracentesis patients with large pleural effusion have frequently felt relief of dyspnea. The data obtained through 6MWT confirms the need for thoracentesis to minimize symptoms and improve exercise capacity.
DISCLOSURE: Lisete Teixeira, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information