[Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery as an alternative to urgent thoracotomy following open chest trauma in selected cases]

Diana Samiatina, Romaldas Rubikas
Medicina 2004, 40 Suppl 1: 134-8

OBJECTIVES: To prove that video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery in selected cases is an alternative to urgent thoracotomy following open chest trauma.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective analysis of case reports of patients operated for open chest trauma during 1997-2002. Comparison of two methods of surgical treatment: urgent video-assisted thoracoscopy and urgent thoracotomy. Duration of drain presence in the pleural cavity, duration of postoperative treatment, pain intensity and cosmetic effect were evaluated. Data analysis was performed using SPSS statistical software. Statistical evaluation of differences between groups was performed using Mann-Whitney U test. The differences between groups were considered to be statistically significant when the probability of deviation was p<0.05.

RESULTS: During 1997-2002, 121 patients with open chest trauma were operated. Thirty three patients underwent urgent video-assisted thoracoscopy, 88 patients were operated through thoracotomy incision: 69 due to isolated open chest trauma, 17 due to thoracoabdominal injury and 2 due to abdominothoracic injury. Almost thirteen percent (12.5%) of patients after urgent thoracotomy underwent urgent laparotomy due to damaged diaphragm and other organs of peritoneal cavity. Duration of drain presence in the pleural cavity after video-assisted thoracoscopy was 4.57 days and after urgent thoracotomy - 6.88 days (p<0.05). Duration of post-operative treatment after video-assisted thoracoscopy was 8.21 days and after urgent thoracotomy - 14.89 days (p<0.05). Amount of consumed non-narcotic analgesics after video-assisted thoracoscopy was 1056.98 mg and after urgent thoracotomy - 1966.70 mg (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Video-assisted thoracoscopy is minimally invasive method of thoracic surgery allowing for the evaluation of the pathological changes in the lung, pericardium, diaphragm, mediastinum, thoracic wall and pleura, including the localization of these changes, and the type and severity of the injury. The number of early post-operative complications following video-assisted thoracoscopy is lower. Compared to operations through thoracotomy incision, video assisted thoracoscopies entail the shortening of the duration of drain presence in the pleural cavity and the duration of post-operative treatment. Video-assisted thoracoscopy should be performed on all patients with open chest trauma and stable hemodynamics and the respiration function. Video-assisted thoracoscopy is an informative diagnostic and treatment method allowing for the selection of patients for urgent thoracotomy.

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