Article Abstract

Pleurodesis: a comparison of two sclerosing agents for pleural effusions in Mozambique

Authors: Ivo Figueiredo, Anilsa Cossa, Anila Hassane, José Sousa, Joaquim Pondo, João Teixeira, Kevan Akrami, Susannah K. Graves, Atul Malhotra, Elizabete A. Nunes

Abstract

Background: Pleural effusions constitute one of the most frequent pathologies encountered in the pulmonary service of Maputo Central Hospital (MCH) in Mozambique. Bleomycin and talc are commonly used for pleurodesis, but cost prohibitive, therefore we aimed to retrospectively compare the efficacy and safety of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) with bleomycin for pleurodesis.
Methods: Case records of pleurodesis using bleomycin and NaOH from 2002 to 2013 were reviewed. Standard of care for pleurodesis for recurrent pleural effusions at MCH was developed using the materials available. NaOH remained the agent of choice until 2006 when bleomycin became available. Clinical data regarding general complications, rate of success and lung expansion were noted for every patient who underwent pleurodesis at MCH during this time frame.
Results: Review of pleurodesis at MCH revealed 24 cases using bleomycin and 23 cases using NaOH as the sclerosing agent. Patient characteristics were balanced between the two groups with majority of pleural effusions malignant in etiology.
Conclusions: There was no statistically significant difference between the use of bleomycin and NaOH as defined by lung expansion. General complications were observed less frequently in 2 (10%) of patients treated with NaOH compared with 8 (38%) of patients using bleomycin. Only three patients presented with recurrent pleural effusion after pleurodesis with NaOH. NaOH may offer a low cost alternative sclerosing agent for resource limited areas.