Outcomes and complications following medical thoracoscopy

Fraser Brims, M. Arif, A.J. Chauhan

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Thoracoscopy is an invasive procedure that may be performed by physicians for the investigation of exudative pleural effusion using local anaesthesia, conscious sedation and a rigid thoracoscope. Objectives: We sought to evaluate the safety and outcome of thoracoscopy in Portsmouth Hospitals, UK, a dockyard city with high previous asbestos usage. Methods: Retrospective casenote, radiology and laboratory result analysis of patients undergoing thoracoscopy in our institution over a 12-month period. Results: Fifty-seven of 58 casenotes were available for analysis. Median (interquartile range) age was 73.0 (66.5-79.0) years and 44 (77.2%) were male. Median time with chest drain post-procedure was 3.0 (2.0-5.0) days, and length of stay (LOS) was 4.0 (2.0-8.0) days. Malignant histology was reported in 40 (70.2%), with 25 (62.5%) cases of mesothelioma. There were no deaths related to the procedure. Hospital-acquired infection (HAI) occurred in six (10.5%: pneumonia four, empyema two), all had malignancy. The presence of HAI significantly prolonged the LOS 9.0 (7.5-23.5) vs no HAI 4.0 (2.0-7.0) days; P=0.006). Four patients died within 1 month of the procedure, three had a malignant diagnosis, all had suffered HAI. Trapped lung (persistent hydropneumothorax 5 days post-procedure) occurred in 11 (19.2%), six of whom had benign histology. Performance status (European Cooperative Oncology Group) prior did not differ with reported histological type: benign 2.0 (2.0-2.0), malignant 2.0 (2.0-3.0), P=0.170. Conclusions: Serious complications following thoracoscopy are rare. HAI is associated with malignancy and prolonged hospital stay. Benign histology may still confer significant morbidity. Please cite this paper as: Brims FJH, Arif M and Chauhan AJ. Outcomes and complications following medical thoracoscopy. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-149
JournalClinical Respiratory Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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