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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004 Sep 15;170(6):680-2. Epub 2004 Jun 23.

Fluorescein-enhanced autofluorescence thoracoscopy in primary spontaneous pneumothorax.

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Interventional Endoscopy Clinic, Anaesthesiology Department and Respiratory Division, University Hospital AZ VUB, Brussels, Belgium.


The exact site of air leakage in a patient with primary spontaneous pneumothorax is difficult to determine and locate. In particular, the role of rupture of emphysema-like changes (blebs and bullae) versus that of enhanced porosity of lung parenchyma in the pathophysiology of primary spontaneous pneumothorax remains unclear. This is the first description of a patient with recurrent primary spontaneous pneumothorax in whom inhalation of aerosolized fluorescein followed by autofluorescence thoracoscopy allowed in vivo localization of various lung areas of extensive subpleural fluorescein accumulation which were not, or only partly, visibly abnormal during normal white light thoracoscopy. No air leak was present at the time of thoracoscopy. No emphysema-like changes were seen. Our findings suggest substantial areas of parenchymal abnormality that remain unnoticed by white light thoracoscopic inspection of the parenchymal surface. In this respect, fluorescein-enhanced autofluorescence thoracoscopy may become an exciting tool in the study of the pathophysiology of primary spontaneous pneumothorax, and could prove useful in clinical practice in determining the sites of surgical staple resection whenever this treatment modality is considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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