Chemical Pleurodesis for Prolonged Postoperative Air Leak in Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax

J Formos Med Assoc. 2014 May;113(5):284-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2012.12.016. Epub 2013 Feb 8.


Background/purpose: Prolonged air leak is the most common complication after thoracoscopic operation for primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP), and the role of chemical pleurodesis in treating air leaks remains unclear. This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of chemical pleurodesis with a comparison between minocycline and OK-432.

Methods: Between 1994 and 2011, 1083 PSP patients were treated by thoracoscopic operation. After the operation, patients with persistent air leak for 3 days or more were managed by minocycline or OK-432 pleurodesis. The demographic and outcome data for these patients were collected by retrospective chart review.

Results: Seventy-nine patients (7.3%) with prolonged air leak after thoracoscopy underwent minocycline pleurodesis (60 patients) or OK-432 pleurodesis (19 patients) as the primary treatment. The primary success rate was 63% (38/60) for minocycline pleurodesis and 95% (18/19) for OK-432 pleurodesis (p = 0.009). Postpleurodesis pain was common and comparable between the two groups. No major complications were noted after a total of 121 treatments. Patients undergoing primary OK-432 pleurodesis had shorter durations of postpleurodesis chest drainage (mean 8.5 vs. 2.3 days; p < 0.001) and postoperative hospital stay (mean 11.9 vs. 6.8 days; p < 0.001) than those undergoing primary minocycline pleurodesis. After a median follow-up of 16 months, recurrence was noted in one patient in the OK-432 group and none in the minocycline group. Long-term pulmonary function in the two groups was comparable.

Conclusion: Chemical pleurodesis using OK-432 or minocycline is safe and convenient for prolonged air leak after thoracoscopic treatment for PSP. Our experience suggested that OK-432 may be more effective than minocycline in reducing air leak.

Keywords: OK-432 (picibanil); air leak; minocycline; pleurodesis; pneumothorax; thoracoscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minocycline / administration & dosage
  • Picibanil / administration & dosage
  • Pleurodesis / methods*
  • Pneumothorax / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / adverse effects*


  • Picibanil
  • Minocycline

Supplementary concepts

  • Pneumothorax, Primary Spontaneous