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Am J Surg. 2004 Sep;188(3):321-4.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic decortication for management of postpneumonic pleural empyema.

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Miraero 21 Hospital, Hawjung-Dong 1079, Suh-Gu, Gwang-Ju 502-240, South Korea.



Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) for decortication or debridement in the management of empyema thoracis has increased the available treatment options but requires validation. We present and evaluate our technique and experience with thoracoscopic management of pleural empyema, irrespective of chronicity.


From May 1, 2000, to April 30, 2002, VATS debridement and decortication in 70 consecutive patients presenting with pleural space infections was performed with endoscopic shaver system. A retrospective review was performed and the effect of this technique on perioperative outcome was assessed.


The VATS evacuation of infected pleural fluid and decortication was successfully performed in 65 of 70 patients. The mean duration of preoperative symptoms before referral was 23 +/- 1.8 days. The mean duration of hospitalization before transfer was 13.5 +/- 1.5 days. Blood loss was 330 +/- 200 mL. Intercostal drainage was required for 5 +/- 3 days. The postoperative hospital stay was 5 +/- 0.7 days. There were no operative mortalities.


Video-assisted thoracoscopic decortication with endoshaver system is a simple and effective method in the management of the fibropurulent or organic pleural empyema.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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