Background: Malignant pleural effusion is a common complication in end-stage cancer patients and can cause severe dyspnea. Therapeutic thoracentesis is often limited to 1 to 1.5 L. Pleural manometry can be used to recognize a not-expanded lung.
Methods: Interval pleural pressure measurements with a high temporal resolution were performed after each removal of 200 mL of fluid to observe pleural pressure swings. Pleural elastance was defined as the difference in pleural pressure divided by the change in volume. Chest x-rays were performed to evaluate lung expansion, reexpansion pulmonary edema, and fluid residue.
Results: Thirty-four procedures in 30 patients were eligible for analysis. Four patients had incomplete lung expansion after drainage. No reexpansion pulmonary edema was observed. Pleural pressure swing after 200 mL drainage was higher when the lung did not expand. Pleural elastance after removal of 500 mL was higher in the not-expanded subgroup.
Conclusions: We demonstrated that a high pleural pressure swing after removal of only 200 mL was related to incomplete lung expansion. We confirmed the association between pleural elastance and lung expansion.