Persistent air leak - review

Respir Med. 2018 Apr;137:213-218. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2018.03.017. Epub 2018 Mar 14.


A persistent air leak (PAL) can be caused by either an alveolar-pleural fistula (APF) or bronchopleural fistula (BPF). Complications from PAL lead to an increase in morbidity and mortality, prolonged hospital stay, and higher resource utilization. Pulmonary physicians and thoracic surgeons are often tasked with the difficult and often times frustrating diagnosis and management of PALs. While most patients will improve with chest tube thoracostomy, many will fail requiring alternative bronchoscopic or surgical strategies. Herein, we review the bronchoscopic and surgical diagnostic and treatment options for PAL as it pertains to the field of interventional pulmonology and thoracic surgery.

Keywords: Bronchopleural fistula; Interventional bronchoscopy; Interventional pulmonology; Persistent air leak; Prolong air leak.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchial Fistula / complications
  • Bronchial Fistula / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bronchial Fistula / pathology
  • Bronchial Fistula / surgery
  • Bronchoscopy / instrumentation*
  • Bronchoscopy / methods
  • Chest Tubes / standards
  • Fistula / complications
  • Fistula / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fistula / surgery
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Pleural Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pleural Diseases / etiology
  • Pleural Diseases / pathology
  • Pleurodesis / methods
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Septal Occluder Device / standards
  • Thoracostomy / standards