, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 19-25
Date: 30 Nov 2006

Early Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery for Primary Spontaneous Hemopneumothorax

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Primary spontaneous hemopneumothorax (PSHP) is a rare surgical emergency. The aim of this study was to compare the previous strategy of tube thoracostomy followed by thoracotomy when complications developed with early video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) for PSHP.


Between November 1989 and May 2005, a total of 24 consecutive patients with PSHP were retrospectively reviewed. Before January 2000, there were 13 patients who were subjected to the treatment strategy of initial tube thoracostomy and underwent operation if the condition deteriorated or later complications occurred (group T). Under this strategy, all of these patients later required operations. After January 2000, another 11 patients were treated with VATS as soon as their condition stabilized after tube thoracostomy and resuscitation (group V). The data for the two groups were compared: sex, age, involved side, initial heart rate (HR) and mean blood pressure (BP), initial hemoglobin (Hb), preoperative blood loss, operating time, amount of blood transfusion, period of chest tube drainage (POD), length of hospital stay (LOS), complications, and length of follow-up.


The sex, age, involved side, and the initial HR, BP, and Hb of the two groups were similar. The patients of group V had a significantly longer operating time [group V, 111 minutes (mean); group T, 85 minutes, P = 0.002]; less preoperative blood loss (group V, 946 ml; group T, 1687 ml, P = 0.003); less blood transfusion (group V, 465 ml; group T, 1044 ml, P = 0.002); shorter POD (group V, 4 days; group T, 7 days, P = 0.011); and shorter LOS (group V, 5 days; group T, 10 days, P = 0.002). No mortality or recurrence was noted in the entire series.


Our study suggests that surgery should be undertaken for PSHP as soon as possible after the clinical condition has stabilized. Under this strategy, VATS is an acceptable approach. It allows a shorter hospital stay and is exempt from unnecessary blood transfusion. Later complications, such as empyema and impaired lung reexpansion, can also be avoided.