Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 Dec;50(12):1328-35. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23184. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

Intrapleural alteplase decreases parapneumonic effusion volume in children more than saline irrigation.

Author information

Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.



In this prospective, double-blind, randomized crossover trial, we determined the effect of intrapleural fibrinolysis with alteplase compared to that of normal saline irrigation on the thoracostomy tube output and pleural effusion volume in children with complicated parapneumonic effusion.


Twenty seven children, median age 3.5 years, referred to the interventional radiology service for thoracostomy tube drainage of a parapneumonic effusion were studied. Seventeen patients with pleural fluid thickness greater than 2 cm or >20% ipsilateral chest volume after 8 hr of thoracostomy tube drainage entered the treatment arm. They were randomized to receive alteplase 0.1 mg/kg twice a day on days 1 and 3, or on days 2 and 4, with normal saline irrigation on the alternate days. Daily pleural fluid volume measured by low dose chest computed tomography (CT) and thoracostomy tube output was compared between the saline and alteplase groups.


Compared to normal saline irrigation, alteplase irrigation resulted in increased thoracostomy tube drainage and to a greater decline in pleural fluid volume. Earlier alteplase administration resulted in increased fluid mobilization compared to administration later in the hospital course. There were no bleeding complications.


Intrapleural fibrinolysis with alteplase safely increases pleural drainage and decreases the volume of pleural inflammatory debris compared to intrapleural administration of normal saline. The benefit of intrapleural alteplase on decreasing the volume of pleural inflammatory debris occurs for up to 72 hr with repeated twice daily dosing.


empyema; fibrinolysis; pediatric; pleural effusion

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center