Intrapleural t-PA-DNase therapy improved fluid drainage in patients with pleural infection and reduced the frequency of surgical referral and the duration of the hospital stay. Treatment with DNase alone or t-PA alone was ineffective. (Funded by an unrestricted educational grant to the University of Oxford from Roche UK and by others; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN57454527.).
sion causes disabling dyspnea in more than 1 million people worldwide annually and prevalence is increasing.  Patients have a mean life expectancy of 4 months. 5 The aim of treatment is symptom palliation while minimizing adverse events.Guidelines recommend chest tube insertion and pleurodesis as a first-line treatment, 1 with talc being the most effective pleurodesis agent. 6 Median hospitalization is 7 days and the 30-day failure rate for talc pleurodesis, defined as recurrent pleural fluid requiring further intervention, is approximately 30%. 7 Indwelling pleural catheters (IPCs) are increasingly used as an alternative treatment to talc pleurodesis. 1 Indwelling Author Affiliations are listed at the end of this article. †Deceased.
IntroductionPneumothorax and pneumomediastinum have both been noted to complicate cases of COVID-19 requiring hospital admission. We report the largest case series yet described of patients with both these pathologies that includes non-ventilated patients.MethodsCases were collected retrospectively from UK hospitals with inclusion criteria limited to a diagnosis of COVID-19 and the presence of either pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum. Patients included in the study presented between March and June 2020. Details obtained from the medical record included demographics, radiology, laboratory investigations, clinical management and survival.ResultsSeventy-one patients from 16 centres were included in the study, of whom 60 patients had pneumothoraces (six also with pneumomediastinum), whilst 11 patients had pneumomediastinum alone. Two of these patients had two distinct episodes of pneumothorax, occurring bilaterally in sequential fashion, bringing the total number of pneumothoraces included to 62. Clinical scenarios included patients who had presented to hospital with pneumothorax, patients who had developed pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum during their inpatient admission with COVID-19 and patients who developed their complication whilst intubated and ventilated, either with or without concurrent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Survival at 28 days was not significantly different following pneumothorax (63.1%±6.5%) or isolated pneumomediastinum (53.0%±18.7%; p=0.854). The incidence of pneumothorax was higher in males. The 28-day survival was not different between the sexes (males 62.5%±7.7% versus females 68.4%±10.7%; p=0.619). Patients above the age of 70 had a significantly lower 28-day survival than younger individuals (≥70 years 41.7%±13.5% survival versus <70 years 70.9%±6.8% survival; p=0.018 log-rank).ConclusionThese cases suggest that pneumothorax is a complication of COVID-19. Pneumothorax does not seem to be an independent marker of poor prognosis and we encourage active treatment to be continued where clinically possible.
Thoracoscopic pleural biopsy is valuable in the diagnosis of pleural malignancies. Patients with 'nonspecific pleuritis/fibrosis' require follow-up as a malignant diagnosis (especially mesothelioma) may eventually be established in approximately 12% of cases.
Background Pleural infection is common, and has a >30% major morbidity and mortalitydparticularly when infection is caused by Gram-negative, Staphylococcus aureus or mixed aerobic pathogens. Standard pleural fluid culture is negative in w40% of cases. Culturing pleural fluid in blood culture bottles may increase microbial yield, and is cheap and easy to perform. Objectives To determine whether inoculating pleural fluid into blood culture bottles increases the culture positivity of pleural infection over standard laboratory culture, and to assess the optimum volume of inoculum to introduce. Methods 62 patients with pleural infection were enrolled. Pairs of aerobic and anaerobic blood culture bottles were inoculated at the bedside with 2, 5 or 10 ml of pleural fluid, and two pleural fluid specimens were sent for standard culture. Pleural fluid from nine control patients was cultured to test for 'false-positive' results. Results The addition of blood culture bottle culture to standard culture increased the proportion of patients with identifiable pathogens by 20.8% (20/53 (37.7%) to 31/53 (58.5%) (difference 20.8%, 95% CI difference 8.9% to 20.8%, p<0.001)). The second standard culture did not similarly improve the culture positivity (19/49 (38.8%) to 22/49 (44.9%) (difference 6.1%, 95% CI difference À2.5% to 6.1%, p¼0.08)). The culture inoculum volume did not influence bacterial isolation frequency. The control fluids were culture negative. Conclusions Blood culture bottle culture of infected pleural fluid increases microbial yield when used in addition to standard culture. This technique should be part of routine care.
Regular chest drain flushes are advocated in order to reduce rates of drain blockage, and further studies are needed to determine optimal fixation strategies that may reduce associated patient morbidity.
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