, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 582-586

Outcomes of patients with chest tube insertion for hepatic hydrothorax

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Abstract

Purpose

Case reports and small case series have reported a high rate of complications associated with chest tube placement for hepatic hydrothorax. We describe the in-hospital and 3-month outcomes of patients who have had this procedure.

Methods

A retrospective medical record review was performed of all patients admitted to a tertiary care center over a 10-year period with a chest tube placed for hepatic hydrothorax. Demographic data and outcomes were collected and analyzed.

Results

Seventeen patients were identified; 12 were taking diuretics and 8 were taking multiple diuretics at the time of admission. MELD score was 14 (range = 7–34). During hospitalization, 16 had at least 1 and 12 had more than 1 complications. The most common complications were acute kidney injury (n = 11), pneumothorax (n = 7), and empyema (n = 5). Two patients died during the index admission and four others within 3 months of that admission. Six of seven patients who received TIPS survived.

Conclusions

Chest tube insertion for hepatic hydrothorax carries significant morbidity and mortality, with questionable benefit.