Intrapleural administration of streptokinase in complicated purulent pleural effusion: a CT-guided strategy

E Roupie, K Bouabdallah, C Delclaux, C Brun-Buisson, F Lemaire, N Vasile, L Brochard
Intensive Care Medicine 1996, 22 (12): 1351-3

OBJECTIVE: To determine the usefulness and the results of a strategy using intrapleural streptokinase (SK) instillation guided by repeated computed tomography (CT) scan examinations in pleural empyemas unresponsive to chest tube drainage.

DESIGN: A retrospective chart review.

SETTING: The medical Intensive Care Unit and Department of Radiology, in a university hospital.

PATIENTS: Sixteen patients with empyema who had a persistent pleural effusion despite drainage, among 37 patients with infectious pleural effusion.

INTERVENTIONS: In the 16 patients, CT examination was performed before and at least once after SK. Intrapleural SK was instilled, either through the chest tube or via a needle puncture, according to the CT scan results.

RESULTS: The first CT scan confirmed a persistent effusion in all, showing a multiloculated effusion in 13 patients, and an ectopic loculus in one. The first SK instillation resulted in a dramatic increase of fluid drained per day (from 68 +/- 28 ml to 567 +/- 262 ml; p < 0.001), leading to complete resolution in 11 patients, while the others required a second CT scan-guided procedure. In one, the chest tube was misplaced, while in two, transparietal injection was needed. Finally, a complete resolution was observed in 14 (87.5%) of the patients. Two patients had a poor initial response to SK and were eventually scheduled for video-thoracoscopy. A single episode of chills and fever was observed among 32 SK instillations.

CONCLUSION: CT-guided SK instillation in pleural empyema appears to be safe, and allowed complete resolution in 87.5% of our patients.

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