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Medicina (Kaunas). 2008;44(12):929-35.

[Malignant pleural diseases: diagnosis and treatment].

[Article in Lithuanian]

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Institute of Oncology, Vilnius University, Santariskiu 1, 08660 Vilnius, Lithuania.



To evaluate efficacy of diagnostic procedures, results of surgery, and complications in malignant pleural diseases.


From 1999 to 2006, 169 patients underwent treatment in the Department of Thoracic Surgery and Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Vilnius University. Patients were divided into two groups: group I, patients with primary pleural malignant diseases (93 patients, 55.0%), and group II, secondary pleural tumors (76 patients, 45%). Of the 76 patients, 40 patients (52.6%) were diagnosed with metastatic pleural tumors and 36 patients (47.4%) with tumors invading parietal pleura. We used noninvasive and invasive methods for diagnosis. Noninvasive methods included chest x-ray, chest computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, chest ultrasound, positron emission tomography/computed tomography (performed in Germany), and invasive methods included puncture of pleural effusions, transthoracic pleural puncture, drainage, pleural biopsy and video-assisted thoracoscopic pleural biopsy, pleural resection, and ultrasound-guided needle biopsy of the pleura. The following procedures were performed in group I: pleurectomy in 15 patients (16.1%), pleural pneumonectomy in 42 patients (45.2%), pleural decortication in 12 patients (12.9%), extended pleuropneumonectomy with diaphragm and pericardium resections and plastic surgery in 14 patients (15.0%), pleurectomy with costal resections in 10 patients (10.1%). Procedures performed in group II included video-assisted thoracoscopic pleurectomy in 15 patients (19.7%), pleural biopsy in 10 patients (13.2%), pleurectomy in 15 patients (19.7%), pleural drainage and fenestration in 5 patients (6.5%), lung and pleura resection in 12 patients (15.8%), chest wall and pleura resection in 10 patients (13.2%), diaphragm and pleura resections in 9 patients (11.8%).


Early stage primary pleural tumors were found in 24 patients (25.8%). Metastatic pleural disease was found in 32 patients with early primary tumors (80.0%). In all 36 patients (100.0%) with chest wall tumors, disease of advanced stage was determined. Main surgical complications of the group I were observed in 26 patients (27.9%). Six patients (6.5%) died after surgery. In group II, 23 patients (30.2%) had postoperative complications; 3 patients (3.9%) died.


In noninvasive methods, the highest sensitivity was achieved for chest computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (97%); the specificity of chest magnetic resonance imaging was 100%, and the specificity chest computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging--98%. The accuracy of chest x-ray plus computed tomography was 98%. In invasive methods, accuracies of pleural biopsy, video-assisted thoracoscopic pleural biopsy, and pleurectomy were 100%, 90%, and 100%, respectively. In case of primary pleural tumors, the main surgery was extended pleuropulmonectomy (45.2%) with or without mediastinal resection. Mortality rate was 6.5%. In case of metastatic pleural disease, the main surgery was video-assisted thoracoscopic pleurectomy (19.7%). Mortality was rate 5%. In cases of pleural invasion by other thoracic malignancies, the main surgeries were chest wall and pleural resection (13.2%) and lung and pleural resection (15.8%). Mortality rate was 2.8%. After 169 operations due to malignant pleural diseases, the rate of postoperative complications ranged from 1.3% to 7.8%.

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