Malignant pleural effusions: Recent advances and ambulatory sclerotherapy


Journal Article (Review)

Malignant pleural effusions are a common problem in cancer patients with advanced disease. Patients typically present with progressive dyspnea, cough, and/or chest pain that significantly compromises their quality of life. Treatment is often palliative, usually consisting of sequential thoracenteses or tube thoracostomy with or without sclerotherapy. The traditional method of treatment-tube thoracostomy with large-bore chest tubes connected to continuous wall suction-requires hospitalization, is expensive, limits patient mobility, and can cause significant patient discomfort. More recent trials have explored new techniques, including thoracoscopic insufflation of talc and small-bore catheters. Most of these studies have been performed on inpatients, although a recent multi-institutional trial was initiated to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of ambulatory (outpatient) pleural drainage and sclerotherapy using small-bore catheters. All patients fulfilling eligibility criteria had a small-bore catheter placed in the pleural space that was then connected to a closed gravity drainage bag system. When daily tube drainage was <100 mL, sclerotherapy was performed. Response rates at our institution demonstrated 10 patients (53%) had a complete response, 5 (26%) had a partial response, and 4 (21%) had progressive disease at 30-day follow-up. These preliminary results suggest ambulatory sclerotherapy is a safe, viable alternative to conventional inpatient treatment of malignant pleural effusions in a select group of patients.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Patz, EF

Published Date

  • January 1, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 113 / 1 SUPPL.

Start / End Page

  • 74S - 77S

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-3692

Citation Source

  • Scopus