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THE JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY
Rivista di Chirurgia Cardiaca, Vascolare e Toracica
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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ORIGINAL ARTICLES THORACIC SECTION
The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2002 February;43(1):109-12
Videothoracoscopy for evaluation and treatment of hemothorax
Ambrogi M. C., Lucchi M., Dini P., Mussi A., Angeletti C. A.
From the Division of Thoracic Surgery Cardiac and Thoracic Department University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Background. Hemothorax may be immediately life-threatening or lead to complications like empyema and fibrothorax. The first step of management is the placement of a tube thoracostomy which is efficacious in more than 80% of cases. Continuous bleeding and retained blood, instead, require surgical treatment.
Methods. From 1993 to 2000, 33 patients underwent videothoracoscopic treatment of hemothorax. It was post-surgical in 19 cases, spontaneous in 8 and post-traumatic in 6. Fifteen patients had a continuous bleeding (>1500 mL/24 hrs) and 18 patients a retained hemothorax (≥500 mL). To better assess smaller retained collection 11 patients underwent both CT scans and trans-thoracic ultrasonography. Twenty-six patients (group 1) were operated within 7 days of the diagnosis and 7 after 10 days (group 2). Standard videothoracoscopic equipment was utilised with the patient under general anaesthesia and double lumen selective intubation. Two or three incisions were performed in axillary triangle (in the postsurgical ones we always utilised the existing incisions). Hemostasis was always achieved by clip ligation and electrocautery. Clotted blood underwent fragmentation and suction with a complete evacuation followed by pleural washing with antibiotics solution.
Results. Videothoracoscopy was effective in 32 cases. One patient of group 2 required conversion to open thoracotomy due to the presence of sticky pleural adhesions. Operating time, mean drainage period and mean hospital stay were sensitively shorter in patients of group 1 with respect to patients of group 2. At a mean follow-up of 39 months no relapses or complications were observed.
Conclusions. Videothoracoscopy seems to be safe and effective in the treatment of hemothorax. To avoid prolonged operations, conversions to thoracotomy and complications, it should be performed as soon as possible. Actually only massive hemorrhages justify the thoracotomic approach.