Background: Massive hydrothorax is a significant complication of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and its ideal management remains undefined. Conservative management in the form of intermittent peritoneal dialysis had limited success. The use of conventional pleurodesis and open thoracotomy were associated with morbidities and limitations. We retrospectively reviewed the long-term outcome of 8 patients with massive hydrothorax complicating CAPD, 6 of whom received thoracoscopic pleurodesis.
Methods: Among 397 patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis during the period from 1994 to 1998, hydrothorax developed in 8 patients. Four patients were first treated with temporary intermittent peritoneal dialysis using 1-L exchange cycles. Three of them had a recurrence of the hydrothorax whereas only one could resume continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis successfully. Two patients then underwent conventional pleurodesis but failed. One of them was switched to hemodialysis. Thoracoscopic pleurodesis was performed for the remaining 2 patients together with 4 other patients with hydrothorax once this complication developed. There were no gross abnormalities including pleuroperitoneal communication sites identified. Talc poudrage was performed in 2 patients and mechanical rub pleurodesis in the other 4 patients. All had uncomplicated procedure and uneventful recovery.
Results: One patient after thoracoscopic pleurodesis was soon switched to hemodialysis for an unrelated reason. The other 5 patients resumed continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis with no recurrence of hydrothorax for a mean period of 50 months (range 19 to 84).
Conclusions: With thoracoscopic pleurodesis, patients resumed continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis without recurrence of hydrothorax on long-term follow-up.