An alveolar-pleural fistula is a communication between the pulmonary parenchyma distal to a segmental bronchus and the pleural space. A postoperative pulmonary expiratory air leak after an anatomic pulmonary resection is usually managed conservatively. The use of endobronchial valves is a minimal invasive method that may be effective for the treatment of a persistent postoperative pulmonary air leak. We present and discuss the advantages of a digital thoracic drainage system for the accurate, objective and reproducible air leak assessment during endobronchial valve placement. Our case also illustrates that, even after lobectomy, lobar exclusion with valves allows air leak resolution without atelectasis and with moderate functional alteration. We discuss the anatomic and physiologic changes induced by valves placed for air leak closure.
Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.