Regulated drainage reduces the incidence of recurrence after uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic bullectomy for primary spontaneous pneumothorax: a propensity case-matched comparison of regulated and unregulated drainage†

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2016 Apr;49(4):1127-31; discussion 1131. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezv300. Epub 2015 Sep 10.


Objectives: To compare the recurrence rate of primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) after uniportal video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) bullectomy and mechanical pleurodesis in patients managed with a regulating pressure drainage system compared and those managed with a traditional one.

Methods: Retrospective propensity score case-matched analysis of 174 consecutive patients submitted to uniportal VATS bullectomy and mechanical pleural abrasion (2007-13) in two centres. Definition of recurrence: Recurrent PSP requiring new treatment (i.e. aspiration, chest tube reinsertion, reoperation) within 12 months from the operation. All patients were managed with a single 24-Fr chest tube. Group 1 (106 patients): Tube connected to a traditional device (T) maintained on wall suction (-20 cmH2O) for 48 h. Group 2 (68 patients): Tube connected to a regulating pressure device (R) set at -20 cmH2O for 48 h. Chest tube removal criteria: No air leak (no bubbling or air flow <20 ml/min for at least 8 h) and pleural effusion <200 ml/day. Propensity score case-matching analysis was performed using the following variables: Age, gender, height, weight, side of operation, dystrophic score, length of stapled parenchyma.

Results: The two groups of 68 pairs were well matched for baseline and surgical characteristics. Patients of Group 2 (R) showed a significantly lower incidence of recurrence rate compared with matched counterparts (T) (3, 4.4 vs 10, 14%, P = 0.041). There were no differences in persistent air leak incidence, chest tube duration or hospital stay between the groups. Group 2 had a higher 48-h output of pleural effusion compared with Group 1 (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: By stabilizing the pleural pressure at the preset values, novel regulating pressure devices may enhance pleurodesis, leading to a reduced incidence of PSP recurrences after uniportal VATS bullectomy and pleural abrasion.

Keywords: Bullectomy; Pleurodesis; Primary spontaneous pneumothorax; Single port; Uniportal VATS.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Drainage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Pneumothorax / surgery*
  • Propensity Score
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Secondary Prevention / methods*
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Pneumothorax, Primary Spontaneous