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Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2002 Jul;8(4):302-7.

Malignant pleural effusions: treatment with tunneled long-term drainage catheters.

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Section of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Department of Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8042, USA.


Malignant pleural effusion is a significant cause of morbidity and a poor prognostic indicator. Traditional treatments have variable success and significant drawbacks, including a length of stay in the hospital. Alternatively, a tunneled pleural catheter permits long-term drainage as an outpatient, cost-effectively controlling the effusion and related symptoms in over 80 to 90% of patients. Other advantages are the ability to treat trapped lungs and large locules. Spontaneous pleurodesis may occur in over 40% of patients, and the catheter can be used to administer sclerosant or antineoplastic agents. Complications tend to be minor and easily managed. A tunneled pleural catheter should be considered for all patients with MPE having a reasonable expectancy of being an outpatient.

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