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Acta Chir Hung. 1999;38(2):131-3.

Palliative treatment of malignant pleural effusions by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Medical School of Pécs, Hungary.


Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) are associated with significant morbidity. Prompt clinical evaluation followed by aggressive treatment often results in successful palliation. Video-assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) today can be employed in the diagnosis and treatment of idiopatic and known MPE. Between January 1994 and December 1998 233 MPE patients were treated with pleurodesis. 206 of them underwent tube thoracostomy and drainage alone followed by chemical pleurodesis. In 27 out of the 233 cases VATS management was applied. These patients had undiagnosed pleural effusions or recurrent MPE following failed previous drainage and pleurodesis. The cause of the effusion was breast cancer in 11 patients, lung cancer in 9, urogenital cancer in 3, mesothelioma in 2 and other in 2. VATS intervention was thoracoscopic exploration with biopsy and directed chemical sclerosis in undiagnosed MPE (19/27) and lysis of pleural adhesions with partial decortication and pleurodesis in recurrent effusions (8/27). VATS managements were successful 26/27 after mean follow up of 6 months. Had not mortality postoperatively and severe morbidity. Chest tubes were removed 1.5 +/- 0.5 days postoperatively and hospital stay were averaged 4 +/- 1 days. We concluded that VATS is a safety and effective way of managing selected patients with pleural effusions.

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