JOURNAL ARTICLE

Tube thoracostomy in the management of pleural fluid collections

A M E Nwofor, C N Ekwunife
Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice 2006, 9 (1): 77-80
16986295

OBJECTIVE: To determine the demographic pattern, indications and complications associated with tube thoracostomy in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Nnewi.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A 5-year review of case records of patients who underwent tube thoracostomy at NAUTH Nnewi between January 1999 and December 2003. Demographic data, clinical features, duration of drainage, complications and outcomes were analyzed.

RESULTS: A total of 65 cases were studied, male: female ratio was 2.4:1. Eighteen patients (27.7%) were below 10 years of age. Infective cases accounted for 63.1% (41) of the cases that had tube thoracostomy. Forty-one patients (63.1%) had tube drainage for 10 days or less. Complication rate was 41.5% (27), mostly mild, with dislodgement of the tube accounting for about half. Failure rate of 13.7% (9) was recorded for the procedure. A mortality of 6.2% (4) was recorded but there was no procedure related death. Seven patients (10.8%) required further surgery.

CONCLUSION: Tube thoracostomy is a simple and efficacious procedure for the treatment of pleural space collections. The safety of the procedure can be improved upon by adequate training in the insertion procedure, while proper selection of cases will reduce failure rate and unnecessary morbidity. Early resort to thoracoscopic or open surgery when tube thoracostomy is considered inappropriate or has failed will improve the success rate in the overall management of pleural fluid collections.

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