Publications (2)2.41 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: To evaluate the safety of air travel after percutaneous transthoracic needle biopsy (PTNB). The study population included 179 patients who underwent 183 PTNBs followed by air travel within 14 days of the procedure. Patients were contacted after their flight and asked to complete a brief telephone survey that assessed for the development of respiratory symptoms during air travel. No patient reported experiencing an in-flight medical event that required emergent, in-flight medical attention or flight diversion. Postbiopsy pneumothorax developed in 65 patients. Of patients with postbiopsy pneumothorax, including patients with radiographic evidence of residual pneumothorax, 50 (77%) traveled within 4 days of the final postbiopsy chest radiograph. Worsening of existing respiratory symptoms or the development of new respiratory symptoms during or after the flight was reported in 14 of 183 patients (8%). This study shows that air travel after biopsy-related pneumothorax can occur safely before radiographic resolution of pneumothorax and as soon as 24 hours after PTNB.
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ABSTRACT: PURPOSE To report our interim analysis of patients who have traveled by air following lung biopsy. METHOD AND MATERIALS IRB approval was granted for this prospective, observational study. Between September 2007 and March 2008, 62 consecutive patients underwent transthoracic lung biopsy followed by air travel. All patients completed a survey questionnaire by telephone within 7-10 business days of their travel date. Questions were designed to determine if patients encountered problems during their flight. Medical records and pertinent imaging studies were also reviewed. RESULTS The pneumothorax rate was 34% (21/62) with five of these patients requiring chest tube placement for management. For all patients, the average time following the last chest x-ray obtained after lung biopsy to air travel was 75 hours. For the patients with pneumothorax, the average time following the last chest x-ray obtained after lung biopsy to air travel was 82 hours. It was possible to quantify the size of the pneumothorax on the last chest x-ray obtained before air travel in 81% (17/21) of the patients with pneumothorax. The size of the pneumothorax ranged from <0.5-22%. None of the patients reported any medical events which required emergent in-flight medical attention or flight diversion. All patients felt safe to fly. CONCLUSION Most medical guidelines recommend deferring air travel for several weeks following pneumothorax resolution documented by imaging. Our practice has been to allow our post-lung biopsy patients to travel by air following a 24 hour post-biopsy wait period if there were no complications or if there was a small, stable pneumothorax. This preliminary analysis of our results indicates that none of our lung biopsy patients, including those with a small, stable pneumothorax, experienced significant, adverse medical events during air travel. CLINICAL RELEVANCE/APPLICATION This study evaluates patients who travel by air following lung biopsy in an attempt to better define a guideline for when it is safe to fly after having sustained a pneumothorax.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHouston, Texas, United States