Pleural manometry in patients with pleural diseases - the usefulness in clinical practice

Respir Med. 2018 Dec;145:230-236. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2018.01.014. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


Although pleural manometry is a relatively simple medical procedure it is only occasionally used to follow pleural pressure (Ppl) changes during a therapeutic thoracentesis and pneumothorax drainage. As some studies showed that pleural pressure monitoring might be associated with significant advantages, pleural manometry has been increasingly evaluated in the last decade. The major clinical applications of pleural pressure measurements include: the prevention of complications associated with large volume thoracentesis, diagnosis and differentiation between various types of an unexpandable lung and a possible prediction of the efficacy of chest tube drainage in patients with spontaneous pneumothorax. It is well known that the therapeutic thoracentesis might be complicated by cough, chest discomfort, and rarely, by a life threatening condition called reexpansion pulmonary edema (RPE). The serious adverse events of thoracentesis are related to pleural pressure drop rather than to the volume of removed pleural effusion. The use of pleural manometry during pleural fluid withdrawal enables the evaluation of the relationship between withdrawn pleural fluid volume, pleural pressure changes and procedure related complications. Pleural pressure measurement is also an important tool to study the different mechanism of pneumothorax complicating the thoracentesis. Pleural manometry is critical for measurement of pleural elastance, diagnosis of an unexpandable lung and differentiation between trapped lung and lung entrapment. This usually has significant clinical implications in terms of further management of patients with pleural effusion. The paper is a comprehensive review presenting different aspects of pleural pressure measurement in clinical practice.

Keywords: Lung entrapment; Pleural effusion; Pleural manometry; Pleural pressure; Pneumothorax; Thoracentesis; Trapped lung; Unexpandable lung.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Elasticity
  • Humans
  • Manometry / methods*
  • Pleura / physiopathology
  • Pleural Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pleural Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Pneumothorax / diagnosis
  • Pneumothorax / etiology
  • Pressure
  • Pulmonary Edema / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Edema / etiology
  • Thoracentesis / adverse effects