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Korean J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017 Aug;50(4):281-286. doi: 10.5090/kjtcs.2017.50.4.281. Epub 2017 Aug 5.

Chemical Pleurodesis Using Doxycycline and Viscum album Extract.

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center, Keimyung University School of Medicine.



In chemical pleurodesis for managing pulmonary air leak, tetracycline derivatives are commonly used, and their effectiveness has been established in many studies. Recently, a Viscum album extract was used in chemical pleurodesis. We compared the effects of V. album with those of a tetracycline derivative (doxycycline) to demonstrate the therapeutic effectiveness of the V. album extract in chemical pleurodesis for managing pulmonary air leak.


Between October 2010 and October 2016, chemical pleurodesis was performed using doxycycline in 40 patients and the V. album extract in 37 patients. Thirty-three patients were in the postoperative state after pulmonary resection, and 44 patients suffered from spontaneous pneumothorax.


No statistically significant difference in the success rate was observed between the 2 groups (V. album extract and doxycycline). In both groups, chest pain was the most common complication. More patients in the doxycycline group complained of severe chest pain (42.1% vs. 13.5%, p=0.006). In the V. album extract group, 24.3% of the patients required a chest tube to drain the pleural effusion after cessation of the air leak (doxycycline group: 5%, p=0.022). Further, the amount of pleural effusion drained on the day after the last chemical pleurodesis in the V. album extract group was greater than that in the doxycycline group (162.2±170.2 mL vs. 97.0±77.2 mL, p=0.032). All patients were discharged from the hospital without complications after pleural effusion drainage.


Considering that treatment using the V. album extract was less painful, V. album might be a feasible option for chemical pleurodesis. However, pleural effusion should be monitored carefully when using V. album extract for treating patients suffering from air leak.


Doxycycline; Pleurodesis; Pneumothorax; Viscum album

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article are reported.

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