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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2016 Apr;49(4):1127-31; discussion 1131. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezv300. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

Regulated drainage reduces the incidence of recurrence after uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic bullectomy for primary spontaneous pneumothorax: a propensity case-matched comparison of regulated and unregulated drainage†.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK
Ospedali Riuniti, Ancona, Italy.
Department of Thoracic Surgery, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.



To compare the recurrence rate of primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) after uniportal video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) bullectomy and mechanical pleurodesis in patients managed with a regulating pressure drainage system compared and those managed with a traditional one.


Retrospective propensity score case-matched analysis of 174 consecutive patients submitted to uniportal VATS bullectomy and mechanical pleural abrasion (2007-13) in two centres. Definition of recurrence: Recurrent PSP requiring new treatment (i.e. aspiration, chest tube reinsertion, reoperation) within 12 months from the operation. All patients were managed with a single 24-Fr chest tube. Group 1 (106 patients): Tube connected to a traditional device (T) maintained on wall suction (-20 cmH2O) for 48 h. Group 2 (68 patients): Tube connected to a regulating pressure device (R) set at -20 cmH2O for 48 h. Chest tube removal criteria: No air leak (no bubbling or air flow <20 ml/min for at least 8 h) and pleural effusion <200 ml/day. Propensity score case-matching analysis was performed using the following variables: Age, gender, height, weight, side of operation, dystrophic score, length of stapled parenchyma.


The two groups of 68 pairs were well matched for baseline and surgical characteristics. Patients of Group 2 (R) showed a significantly lower incidence of recurrence rate compared with matched counterparts (T) (3, 4.4 vs 10, 14%, P = 0.041). There were no differences in persistent air leak incidence, chest tube duration or hospital stay between the groups. Group 2 had a higher 48-h output of pleural effusion compared with Group 1 (P < 0.0001).


By stabilizing the pleural pressure at the preset values, novel regulating pressure devices may enhance pleurodesis, leading to a reduced incidence of PSP recurrences after uniportal VATS bullectomy and pleural abrasion.


Bullectomy; Pleurodesis; Primary spontaneous pneumothorax; Single port; Uniportal VATS

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