Feasibility of short term drainage for diagnostic thoracoscopy
AbstractBackground and Aim. Thoracoscopy is a diagnostic tool superior to other available techniques for the assessment of pleural effusions. There are numerous publications that describe the technique in detail but there is very little published on the optimal time of chest drain removal post procedure. Our aim was to retrospectively study all cases of diagnostic thoracoscopy and to ascertain the time of chest drain removal, length of hospital stay and associated complications. Methods. All patients who underwent thoracoscopy during a 6-year period were identified from a computerised database. Patients who received talc for pleurodesis were excluded as they required longer drainage time. A review of the remaining patientsâ€™ charts and radiology was performed to ascertain the predefined outcomes. Results. 124 patients had a diagnostic thoracoscopy. The time to chest drain removal was documented as less than four hours, four to 24 hours, 24 to 48 hours and greater than 48 hours in 66 (53.2%), 29 (23.4%), 12 (9.7%) and 17 (13.7%) of patients respectively. The median length of stay for all patients was one day (interquartile range, 1-4 days). There was a statistically significant difference in overall length of hospital stay between the early (48 hours) chest drain removal groups, p=0.0028. The overall complication rate was 15.9%. There was no statistical difference in complication rates between the two groups. Conclusion. This retrospective series demonstrates that early chest drain removal post diagnostic thoracoscopy is possible and safe. This is likely to confer economic benefits.
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