European Respiratory Journal vol:43 issue:4 pages:1142-8
A persistent post-operative pulmonary expiratory air leak after an anatomical pulmonary resection is usually managed conservatively, but can be associated with significant morbidity and increased costs. The use of bronchial valves is a minimally invasive method that may be an effective and safe treatment in this setting. In a prospective study, the clinical efficacy of intrabronchial valve treatment in patients with a prolonged persistent pulmonary air leak after anatomical surgical resection for cancer was investigated. 10 out of 277 patients with anatomical pulmonary resection for cancer were included, and 90% were scheduled for valve treatment. We demonstrated an air leak cessation at a median of 2 days after valve placement, which resulted in chest tube removal at a median of 4 days after valve placement. Elective removal of the intrabronchial valves could be safely planned 3 weeks after valve implantation. Lung function alteration associated with airway occlusion by valves was limited. Intrabronchial valve treatment with the aid of a digital thoracic drainage system is an effective and safe therapy for patients with a prolonged pulmonary air leak after anatomical lung resection for cancer.