Bronchoscopic management of prolonged air leak
Broncho-pleural fistula (BPF) is an atypical communication between the tracheobronchial tree and the alveolar/pleural space, with prolonged air leak (PAL). BPF is frequent and related to significant morbidity, prolonged length of hospital stay, and mortality. Nevertheless, in about 10%, more than 5 days of an air leak is considered a PAL, accounted for significant morbidity. Endobronchial valve is a novel device for the PAL management with minimal morbidity if related to surgical repairs. While it is suggested that surgical treatment should be undertaken when possible, endobronchial valves should be recommended as a therapeutic choice in high-risk patients. Placement techniques remain operator and patient friendly and allow the procedure to be performed with relative ease. Prospectively conducted, randomised, controlled clinical trials are needed where valve treatment is compared with other bronchoscopic techniques, surgical procedures, or both.