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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2003 Apr;18(4):804-8.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic talc pleurodesis is effective for maintenance of peritoneal dialysis in acute hydrothorax complicating peritoneal dialysis.

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Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, Peoples' Republic of China.



Acute, massive, unilateral hydrothorax is an uncommon but well-recognized complication of peritoneal dialysis. Its clinical course and treatment outcome after a recently advocated technique of video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) talc pleurodesis remains unclear.


Between July 1998 and March 2002, among 475 CAPD patients in two regional hospitals in Hong Kong, nine patients (three men, six women, mean age 53+/-12 years) developed acute hydrothorax due to pleuroperitoneal communication (R=8, L=1) within 5.8+/-4.2 months (median, 5.2 m; range, 2 days to 11.6 months) of commencing peritoneal dialysis. Analysis of simultaneously obtained peritoneal and pleural fluid in all subjects only showed concordance in protein content (consistently<4 g/l), while fluid glucose and lactate dehydrogenase levels were not comparable. The methylene blue test was negative (n=4). Radionuclide scan (n=6) and contrast CT peritoneography (CTP, n=3) detected pleuroperitoneal communication in half and one-third of the patients, respectively. All patients underwent pleurodesis achieved by talc insufflation into the pleural cavity under VATS guidance. All patients were successfully returned to peritoneal dialysis. After a mean follow-up of 18.8+/-12.5 months, hydrothorax recurred in one patient (at 7 months after pleurodesis), who was successfully treated by repeating the procedure.


Hydrothorax complicating CAPD is more commonly right-sided, and tends to occur within the first year of starting peritoneal dialysis. Isotope scan and CTP are insensitive in diagnosing pleuroperitoneal communication. A low pleural fluid protein content is the most consistent biochemical finding. VATS talc pleurodesis is a safe and reliable treatment of choice that allows sustained continuation of CAPD with low recurrence rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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