Sclerotherapy of malignant pleural effusion through sonographically placed small-bore catheters

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1992 Jan;158(1):41-3. doi: 10.2214/ajr.158.1.1370073.


Pleural sclerosis after drainage with a small-bore catheter was performed in 21 patients with malignant pleural effusions. Intrapleural catheters 7- to 24-French in size were placed by using sonographic guidance. Tetracycline (18 patients) and bleomycin (four patients) were used as sclerosing agents (one patient had both). Clinical and radiologic follow-up was available on all patients until they died (range, 2 weeks to 25 months; mean, 3.6 months). Pleural sclerosis was successful in 15 (71%) of 21 patients. Two patients in whom pleurodesis failed had pleural sclerosis repeated, with one success and one failure. All of the failures were in patients in whom the amount of chest-tube drainage was more than 100 ml/day. Pleurodesis with tetracycline was painful in six patients; no pain was associated with use of bleomycin. Small pneumothoraces developed in four patients at the time of chest-tube placement, without consequence. A superimposed infection that developed in a patient having continuous drainage of pleural fluid was successfully treated with antibiotics. Pleural sclerotherapy can be performed through sonographically placed small-bore catheters with results comparable to those seen with large-bore, surgically placed catheters.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bleomycin / administration & dosage
  • Catheterization / instrumentation
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleura
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / epidemiology
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sclerosing Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Sclerotherapy / instrumentation
  • Sclerotherapy / methods*
  • Tetracycline / administration & dosage
  • Ultrasonics


  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Bleomycin
  • Tetracycline