Pleuroscopy for diagnosis and therapy for pleural effusions

Chest. 2010 Nov;138(5):1242-6. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-1259.


Pleuroscopy, also known as medical thoracoscopy, is a minimally invasive procedure to inspect and perform a biopsy of the pleural space as well as to perform therapeutic interventions. It differs from conventional video-assisted thoracic surgery in that it may be performed under moderate sedation in the endoscopy suite without the need for intubation or single-lung ventilation. The diagnostic accuracy of this procedure approaches 100% in malignant and tuberculous pleural effusions. Complication rates are low (2%-5%) and are typically minor (subcutaneous emphysema, bleeding, infection), with mortality rates <0.1%. Therapeutic interventions, such as chemical pleurodesis, may be performed during pleuroscopy for recurrent, symptomatic malignant pleural effusions, with success rates approaching 90%. In trained hands, pleuroscopy is a safe and well-tolerated procedure with high diagnostic accuracy and therapeutic efficacy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Pleural Effusion / diagnosis*
  • Pleural Effusion / therapy*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Thoracoscopy / methods*
  • Video Recording