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Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Jun;71(6):1809-12.

Effective treatment of malignant pleural effusion by minimal invasive thoracic surgery: thoracoscopic talc pleurodesis and pleuroperitoneal shunts in 101 patients.

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Department of General and Thoracic Surgery, Christian-Albrechts-University Hospital, Kiel, Germany.



For effective palliation of patients with malignant pleural effusion due to advanced neoplastic disease, any proposed treatment should have low procedure-related mortality and morbidity.


The clinical outcome of 119 thoracoscopies in 101 patients (56 women, 45 men), from 42 to 91 years of age (mean, 68 +/- 9 years) with malignant pleural effusions was evaluated in a retrospective study. Video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) talc pleurodesis was done in 105 instances, and a pleuroperitoneal shunt was performed 14 times as an alternative when complete expansion of the lung could not be achieved due to tumor implants on the visceral pleura.


The VATS talc pleurodesis resulted in clinically significant improvement of dyspnea in 92.2% of the patients. Thirty-day mortality was 2.8% and morbidity was 2.8%. The mean duration of postoperative survival was 6.7 months. Recurrent pleural effusion occurred in 5.7% of patients after a mean interval of 6 months. Clinical relief of dyspnea was obtained in 73% of the patients treated with pleuroperitoneal shunts. Thirty-day mortality in this group was 21% and morbidity was 14.3%. The mean duration of survival was 4.2 months.


The VATS talc pleurodesis is appropriate for palliation of patients with malignant pleural effusions and should be performed once the diagnosis has been confirmed. Patients with lungs trapped by visceral carcinomatosis may benefit from placement of a pleuroperitoneal shunt as an alternative.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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