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Eur Respir J. 1993 Nov;6(10):1544-55.

Thoracoscopy: present diagnostic and therapeutic indications.

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Chest Hospital Heckeshom, Berlin, Germany.


Thoracoscopy is increasingly being used for diagnosis and treatment of pleuropulmonary disease. The recent revival was made possible by the tremendous advances in endoscopic technology. The main requirements for diagnostic purposes are rigid telescopes and forceps, and for interventional thoracoscopy scissors, staplers and a video recorder. The procedure can be performed either under local or general anaesthesia, with or without double lumen intubation, after inducing an artificial pneumothorax. At the end of the procedure, a chest tube should always be inserted, even if only for a few minutes until the lung re-expands. Main diagnostic indications are pleural effusions, pneumothorax and diffuse lung disease. Main therapeutic indications are pleurodesis by talcage in effusion and pneumothorax and a variety of diseases of the lung, the pleura and the mediastinum, where thoracotomy may be replaced by video-assisted thoracoscopy. The well-known indications of the past remain a domain of pneumologists, whereas minimal invasive thoracotomy is the task of thoracic surgeons. For some indications no sharp line has to be drawn, provided the facilities and skills are present, including those for the management of complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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