The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of outpatient management of postbiopsy pneumothoraces with small-caliber chest tubes and to assess the factors that influence the need for prolonged drainage or additional interventions.
We evaluated the medical records of patients who were treated with small-caliber chest tubes attached to Heimlich valves for pneumothoraces resulting from image-guided transthoracic needle biopsy to determine the hospital admission rates, the number of days the catheters were left in place, and the need for further interventions. We also evaluated the patient, lesion, and biopsy technique characteristics to determine their influence on the need for prolonged catheter drainage or additional interventions. Of the 191 patients included in our study, 178 (93.2%) were treated as outpatients. Ten patients (5.2%) were admitted for chest tube-related problems, either for underwater suction (n = 8) or for pain control (n = 2). No further interventions were required in 146 patients (76.4%), with successful removal of the chest tubes the day after the biopsy procedure. Prolonged catheter drainage (mean, 4.3 days) was required in 44 patients (23%). Nineteen patients (9.9%) underwent additional interventions for management of pneumothorax. Presence of emphysema was noted more frequently in patients who required additional interventions or prolonged chest tube drainage than in those who did not (51.1% vs. 24.7%; p = 0.001).
We conclude that use of the Heimlich valve allows safe and successful outpatient treatment of most patients requiring chest tube placement for postbiopsy pneumothorax. Additional interventions or prolonged chest tube drainage are needed more frequently in patients with emphysema in the needle path.
Lung Biopsy Complications Pneumothorax
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