Thoracoscopic management of empyema thoracis.

Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.
Journal of Minimal Access Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.37). 10/2007; 3(4):141-8. DOI: 10.4103/0972-9941.38908
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Appropriate management of empyema thoracis is dependent upon a secure diagnosis of the etiology of empyema and the phase of development. Minimal access surgery using video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) is one of many useful techniques in treating empyema. Complex empyema requires adjunctive treatment in addition to VATS.

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    ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to determine whether all adult patients with primary empyema thoracis need decortication. A management algorithm was developed and analyzed in a prospective, longitudinal, nonblinded study of 179 consecutive adult patients. The treatment options included thoracentesis, closed (tube) thoracostomy, image-guided catheter drainage, and decortication. We reviewed the outcomes of these procedures as they related to the pleural fluid cultures isolated and the antibiotic regimens used. Of the 179 patients, 20 had thoracentesis as the primary procedure, and 18 (90%) were cured. Ninety patients underwent closed thoracostomy as the primary procedure with a cure rate of 62% (56 patients) and a mortality rate of 11% (10 patients), and 24 patients required a secondary procedure. Seventy-six patients underwent decortication as either the primary or the secondary procedure with a cure rate of 88% (67 patients) and a mortality rate of 1.3% (1 patient); 8 patients required conversion to open thoracostomy. Hospital stay for decortication was 14+/-1 days and for closed thoracostomy, 17+/-1 days (p < 0.05). Decortication was necessary in 55% of patients with anaerobic infections and in 50% with aerobic infections. Clindamycin in combination with gentamicin sulfate was the most efficacious regimen with a success rate of 82% (51 of 62 patients); only 33% (17 of 52) were cured with penicillin. The overall mortality rate in this study was 6.7% (12 of 179 patients). Forty-two percent of patients with primary empyema thoracis ultimately require decortication. Decortication is more frequently necessary for anaerobic, tuberculous, staphylococcal, and pneumococcal infections. Although the overall mortality in this study was low, mortality remains high in elderly patients and patients with comorbid disease.
    The Annals of Thoracic Surgery 12/1998; 66(5):1782-6. · 3.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite continued improvement in medical therapy, empyema remains a challenging problem for the surgeon. Multiple treatment options are available; however, the optimal therapeutic management has not been elucidated. A retrospective review was performed of all adult patients admitted to Denver Health Medical Center between January 1, 1993, and December 31, 1998, with the diagnosis of empyema. Data tabulated included patient demographics, presentation, chest computed tomography (CT) findings, treatment, and outcome. Empyema was diagnosed in 58 patients, 45 cases of which were multiloculated at the time of presentation. Empyema was secondary to pneumonia is 41 patients and posttraumatic in 15. In addition to antibiotic therapy, initial treatment included chest tube drainage alone (n = 6), chest tube drainage with primary operation (n = 19), and chest tube drainage with intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy (n = 33). In 15 patients (45%), fibrinolytic therapy failed. Initial chest CT revealed a pleural peel in 5 patients treated with fibrinolytics and all failed. Multiloculation, however, was not a factor in failure of fibrinolysis. Moreover, chest CT missed the presence of a pleural peel in 17 of 31 patients documented to have a significant peel at the time of thoracotomy. Multiple therapeutic options are available for the management of empyema. Multiloculation is not a contraindication to an initial trial of chest tube drainage or fibrinolytic therapy. In contrast, CT evidence of a pleural peel uniformly predicted failure of nonoperative treatment.
    The American Journal of Surgery 01/2001; 180(6):507-11. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Empyema remains a cause of morbidity and mortality. Thoracoscopy has proved its versatility in the management of pleural space disorders. The suitability of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) for decortication in the management of the fibrotic stage of empyema is unclear. VATS evacuation of empyema and decortication was performed on seventeen patients presenting with pleural space infections. A retrospective review was performed and constitutes the basis of this report. VATS evacuation of empyema and decortication was successfully performed in 13 of 17 patients. Blood loss was 325 +/- 331 cc. Mean hospital stay was 18 +/- 10 days. Postoperative hospitalization was 11 +/- 7 days. Chest tubes remained in place for 7 +/- 3 days. There were no operative mortalities. Video-assisted evacuation of empyema and decortication is an effective modality in the management of the exudative and fibrinopurulent stages of empyema. An organized empyema should be approached thoracoscopically, but may require open decortication.
    The American Journal of Surgery 02/2000; 179(1):27-30. · 2.41 Impact Factor


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Jun 3, 2014