, Volume 188, Issue 3, pp 253-257
Date: 09 Dec 2009

Emergency Use of an Endobronchial One-Way Valve in the Management of Severe Air Leak and Massive Subcutaneous Emphysema

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Bronchopleural (BPF) and alveolar-pleural (APF) fistulas are frequently encountered in clinical practice with persistent air leaks that can lead to significant morbidity, prolonged hospital stay, and potentially increased mortality. BPF and APF are commonly related to pulmonary resections. Other etiologies include minimally invasive procedures (thoracentesis and image-guided biopsies), and spontaneous fistulas related to an underlying structural lung disease (e.g., emphysema) or a necrotizing pulmonary process (e.g., infection or malignancy). Radiofrequency ablation for pulmonary malignancies is an effective modality that can rarely lead to APF with persistent air leak. Surgical intervention remains the standard treatment option for BPF and APF. A variety of minimally invasive bronchoscopic approaches can be considered for selected nonsurgical candidates. The use of one-way endobronchial valves to manage severe and persistent air leaks can be considered a minimally invasive option in selected patients. The valves selectively block inspiratory airflow to a specific segmental or subsegmental airway but allow expiratory flow with drainage of air and secretions from the corresponding distal airways and lung parenchyma.