Original Article

Lateral decubitus chest radiography or chest ultrasound to predict pleural adhesions before medical thoracoscopy: a prospective study

Khady Thiam, Julien Guinde, Sophie Laroumagne, Valerian Bourinet, Julie Berbis, Nafissatou Omar Touré, Hervé Dutau, Philippe Astoul


Background: Medical thoracoscopy (MT) is the gold-standard to investigate unexplained pleural exudates. However, the major prerequisite is an easy pleural access obtained by creating an artificial pneumothorax at the beginning of the procedure which can be a challenge in case of pleural adhesions and make the procedure unsafe. The detection of pleural adhesions prior to MT is necessary. Nowadays chest ultrasonography (CUS) is considered the best procedure to detect pleural adhesions. However, this technique is not available in all countries where the assessment of the pleural cavity is only based on chest radiography. Therefore, we conducted this study to compare the performance of lateral decubitus chest radiography (LDCR) and CUS to predict pleural adhesions.
Methods: LDCR and CUS were performed prior MT in consecutive patients presenting exudative pleural effusion to detect pleural adhesions. The diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy for each pre thoracoscopy procedure were calculated.
Results: Data analysis for the sixty-six enrolled patients showed a higher superiority to detect pleural adhesions for CUS in comparison to LDCR for all the parameters analyzed.
Conclusions: These results confirm that pre-MT CUS is the cornerstone to evaluate the access to the pleural cavity and justify educational program in this field in all centers which intends to develop interventional pulmonology.

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