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Am J Med. 1999 Oct;107(4):340-3.

The value of chest roentgenography in the diagnosis of pneumothorax after thoracentesis.

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  • 1Service of Internal Medicine, Hospital General Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autónoma, Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

We sought to assess the yield of chest roentgenography for the detection of pneumothorax among hospitalized patients with pleural effusion who have undergone diagnostic or therapeutic thoracentesis.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

We performed a prospective study of 506 thoracentesis procedures in 370 patients. After the procedure, each operator filled out a note recording patient data and the characteristics of the thoracentesis. A chest radiograph was performed within 12 hours after the procedure in all patients.

RESULTS:

Eighteen (4%) pneumothoraces occurred in 17 patients, 9 (2%) of which required chest tube drainage. Of the 488 patients without symptoms, only 5 (1%) developed a pneumothorax, only 1 of which required chest tube drainage. By contrast, of the 18 patients with symptoms, 13 developed a pneumothorax, 8 of which required chest tubes. There were two independent predictors of pneumothorax: presence of symptoms (odds ratio [OR] = 250; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 65 to 980) and male gender (OR = 5.4; 95% CI: 1.9 to 69).

CONCLUSIONS:

Among the symptom-free patients in our sample, the risk of developing pneumothorax with clinical consequences was so low that the practice of routine chest roentgenography may not be justified.

PMID:
10527035
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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