Can we predict the failure of thoracostomy tube drainage in the treatment of pediatric parapneumonic collections?

Muhammad Jamal, Stacy C Reebye, Mohammed Zamakhshary, Erik D Skarsgard, Geoffrey K Blair
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2005, 40 (5): 838-41

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Tube thoracostomy is a standard method of treating pediatric parapneumonic collections. Despite recent work denoting thoracoscopy as a superior method of treatment, few studies have looked at factors predictive of tube thoracostomy failure. We reviewed parapneumonic collections initially treated with tube thoracostomy to identify such factors.

METHODS: Nontuberculous parapneumonic collections treated initially with tube thoracostomy over a 10-year period were reviewed. A "failed primary tube thoracostomy" was defined as the presence of worsening clinicoradiological signs requiring a further chest procedure (ie, thoracoscopy, thoracotomy, or second thoracostomy).

RESULTS: Fifty-eight patients were identified. Forty-three percent failed primary tube thoracostomy. Within group F (failure group), 32% of patients had a concomitant medical condition (P < .001). Sixty percent of group F patients had duration of symptoms for more than 1 week compared with only 24% of group S (successful group) (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that primary treatment of parapneumonic collections with tube thoracostomy is likely to be unsuccessful in patients who are symptomatic for more than a week or who have a concomitant medical condition. A more aggressive primary surgical intervention is suggested for this group.

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