Does video-assisted thoracoscopic pleurectomy result in better outcomes than open pleurectomy for primary spontaneous pneumothorax?
ABSTRACT The question addressed by a best evidence topic approach using a structured protocol was whether pleurectomy using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) resulted in better outcomes than open pleurectomy for primary spontaneous pneumothorax. Altogether 45 relevant papers were identified of which nine papers represented the best evidence to answer the question. The author, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses were tabulated. We conclude that VATS pleurectomy has been shown to be comparable to open pleurectomy in the treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax, with a meta-analysis and several RCTs showing reductions in length of hospital stay and analgesic requirements. Postoperative pulmonary dysfunction has also been shown to be reduced after VATS pleurectomy in two RCTs, although a third study found no significant difference. A concern may be a four-fold increase in the recurrence of pneumothorax following VATS pleurectomy as compared to open pleurectomy reported in a recent meta-analysis of four randomised and 25 non-randomised studies performed in 2007 and published in the Lancet, although a second meta-analysis of only the randomised trials did not show this difference.