Persistent air leak (PAL) is a cause of significant morbidity in patients who have undergone lung surgery and those with significant parenchymal lung disease suffering from a pneumothorax. Its management can be complex and challenging. Although conservative treatment with chest drain and observation is usually effective, other invasive techniques are needed when conservative treatment fails. Surgical management and medical pleurodesis have long been the usual treatments for PAL. More recently numerous bronchoscopic procedures have been introduced to treat PAL in those patients who are poor candidates for surgery or who decline surgery. These techniques include bronchoscopic use of sealants, sclerosants, and various types of implanted devices. Recently, removable one-way valves have been developed that are able to be placed bronchoscopically in the affected airways, ameliorating air-leaks in patients who are not candidates for surgery. Future comparative trials are needed to refine our understanding of the indications, effectiveness, and complications of bronchoscopic techniques for treating PAL. The following article will review the basic principles of management of PAL particularly focusing on bronchoscopic techniques.
Interventional Pulmonology Corner
Surveillance bronchoscopy within 4 to 6 weeks of stent placement may be useful for early detection of complications and their subsequent management, regardless of symptomatic status and indication for stent placement. Prospective multicenter studies are needed to compare optimal surveillance methods and the impact on patient mortality, morbidity and healthcare costs.
We present a case series describing a modified technique of combining medical Pleuroscopy (MP) and indwelling pleural catheter (IPC) placement for obtaining pleural biopsies and managing recurrent pleural effusions. The unique feature of this technique is the introduction of a thin bronchoscope through the peel-away introducer of IPC to obtain pleural biopsies thus avoiding a bigger incision followed by placement of IPC. This procedure was performed on nine patients in an outpatient setting. A regular flexible bronchoscopy forceps was used to obtain pleural biopsies in eight out of nine patients and only one patient could not tolerate the procedure due to marginal respiratory status. A diagnosis of malignancy was successfully obtained in six patients, one patient had biopsy findings of chronic inflammation and one patient had necrotic debris and rare atypical cells despite having visible pleural lesions. No procedure related patient complications were noted.
Tracheobronchial foreign body (FB) aspiration is an uncommon but potentially life-threatening event in adults. Symptoms typically consist of a choking event followed by cough and dyspnea, however, these findings are inconsistent and symptoms may mimic more chronic lung diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chest radiography and computed tomography can provide information regarding the location and characteristics of foreign bodies and aid in diagnosis. Bronchoscopy remains the gold standard for diagnosis and management of FB aspiration. The authors describe the typical clinical presentation, diagnostic evaluation, and bronchoscopic management of foreign bodies in adult airways with a focus on bronchoscopic techniques and potential complications of FB extraction.