Medical thoracoscopy in China—the present status and the future
Medical thoracoscopy (MT) refers to a minimally invasive procedure to inspect and perform a biopsy of the pleural space, as well as to perform therapeutic interventions, in a nonintubated patient under local anesthesia. This procedure provides the physician a window into the pleural space. Over the past two decades, MT has been developed very rapidly in China. We performed a review of the published data on MT in China, and estimated the present status, the challenges, and future perspectives of MT. From the data we conduct that MT is widely used well in China, not only in the diagnosis of exudative pleural effusions, but also in the management of pleural diseases, such as tuberculous pleural effusion, malignant pleural effusion and spontaneous pneumothorax. Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that few prospective clinical trials, lack of routine follow-up of MT are current domestic problems for diagnosis and management in pleural effusion. Consequently, more prospective, randomized clinical trials are needed to assess the diagnostic value and treatment superiorities of MT compared with traditional methods or other subjects in China in the future.