JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
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Video assisted thoracic surgery for treatment of pneumothorax and lung resections: systematic review of randomised clinical trials.

OBJECTIVES: To determine if video assisted thoracic surgery is associated with better clinical outcomes than thoracotomy for three common procedures: surgery for pneumothorax, minor resections, and lobectomy.

DESIGN: Systematic review of randomised clinical trials.

DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Cochrane controlled trials register. Reference lists of relevant articles and reviews.

METHODS: Criteria for inclusion were random allocation of patients and no concurrent use of another experimental medication or device. At least two authors performed and confirmed data abstraction and analyses. Information on quality of trials, demographics, frequency of the events, and numbers randomised were collected.

RESULTS: 12 trials randomised 670 patients. Video assisted thoracic surgery was associated with shorter length of stay (reduction ranged from 1.0 to 4.2 days) and less pain or use of pain medication than thoracotomy in the five out of seven trials in which the technique was used for pneumothorax or minor lung resection. In the treatment of pneumothorax, video assisted thoracic surgery was associated with substantially fewer recurrences than pleural drainage in two trials (from 20 to 53 events prevented per 100 treated patients). No substantial advantages were observed for video assisted thoracic surgery in lobectomies.

CONCLUSIONS: Video assisted thoracic surgery is associated with better outcomes and seems to have a complication profile comparable with that of thoracotomy for the treatment of pneumothorax and minor resections. As for lobectomy, further studies are needed to determine how it compares with thoracotomy.

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