The past decade has seen a dramatic rise in clinical and research interests in pleural disease in parallel with rising incidences of pleural cancers and infection worldwide. Development of specialist pleural services can streamline patient diagnosis and therapy, reduce health-care resource consumption, improve procedural training and safety and facilitate clinical research. Pleural ultrasound, pleuroscopy, indwelling pleural catheter services and pleural procedural education programmes for junior staff are important elements of most specialist pleural units. An integrated service including radiology, pathology, oncology and thoracic surgery input is pivotal to success. Establishing funding support and referral sources are the common initial hurdles. This article provides an overview of the need for specialist pleural disease units, the essential elements required and the likely challenges encountered in setting a service up.
© 2010 The Authors; Respirology © 2010 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology.