Send to

Choose Destination
Eur Respir J. 2007 Mar;29(3):571-4. Epub 2007 Jan 10.

The autoclavable semirigid thoracoscope: the way forward in pleural disease?

Author information

Dept of Respiratory Medicine, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Preston Hospital, Fulwood, Preston PR2 9HT, UK.


Medical thoracoscopy is a valuable tool in the investigation and management of pleural disease. It has considerable advantages over conventional blind pleural biopsy and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. Despite this, the practice of this technique in the UK is limited. Most operators use the rigid thoracoscope, which may be an unfamiliar instrument to respiratory physicians. A semirigid thoracoscope is available but its use has not been possible in the UK as it requires sterilisation with ethylene oxide, which is not approved in this country. The present authors describe herein their experience with the first ever autoclavable semirigid thoracoscope. Medical thoracoscopy using the new instrument was performed in 56 patients between June 2004 and May 2006. All patients had been referred with a unilateral pleural effusion of unknown aetiology, where blind pleural aspiration had failed to yield an answer. Diagnostic samples were taken and talc poudrage performed where appropriate. The instrument was easy to handle and excellent views were obtained. Histologically adequate biopsy samples were obtained in 54 patients. The combination of clinical features, computed tomography findings and thoracoscopic biopsy enabled a definite diagnosis in 49 (90.7%) of these patients. There were no complications. The autoclavable semirigid thoracoscope has immense potential in the diagnosis and management of pleural disease. Its diagnostic yield in pleural disease is comparable to the conventional rigid thoracoscope. It is similar in design to the fibreoptic bronchoscope and respiratory physicians should be able to adapt to its use easily. It is also compatible with existing video processors and light sources available in most endoscopy suites. The fact that this instrument is autoclavable should open the field for its use in the UK as well as in other countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center