The impact of tunneled pleural catheters on the quality of life of patients with malignant pleural effusions

Respiration. 2013;85(1):36-42. doi: 10.1159/000342343. Epub 2012 Nov 13.


Background: Tunneled pleural catheters (TPC) are used in the management of malignant pleural effusions (MPE), but the impact of this palliative procedure on patient quality of life (QoL) has not been well described.

Objectives: To ascertain the impact of TPCs on symptoms and QoL of patients with recurrent MPE.

Methods: Patients with recurrent MPE completed the EORTC QLQ-C30 and LC13 QoL questionnaires at baseline, 2 and 14 weeks; FACIT-TS-G© treatment satisfaction surveys were completed at 14 weeks.

Results: A total of 82 patients were recruited. Thirty-seven patients (37/82, 45%) died prior to their 14-week follow-up appointment. Significant improvements in dyspnea at 2 weeks were demonstrated with both dyspnea scores (LC13 baseline score 64.1, 2-week score 43.7, mean change -20.4, n = 56, p < 0.001; C30 baseline score 78.9, 2-week score 46.6, mean change -32.4, n = 68, p < 0.001), as well as with the MRC score (baseline median score 4, 2-week score 3, n = 70, p < 0.001). Global health status/QoL was also significantly improved at 2 weeks (baseline score 34.1, 2-week score 46.3, mean change 12.3, n = 68, p < 0.001). Improvements in cough, fatigue and all functional scales were noted at 2 weeks. The improvements in dyspnea and global health status/QoL were maintained to 14 weeks in surviving subjects and there was further improvement in the MRC score at 14 weeks. Patients who completed the FACIT-TS-G survey demonstrated overall satisfaction with TPC treatment.

Conclusions: TPCs are associated with a significant improvement in global health status, QoL and dyspnea at the 2-week time point in patients with recurrent MPE.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheters*
  • Drainage / instrumentation*
  • Drainage / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospital Mortality / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / mortality
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / psychology
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Survival Rate / trends