Study examines treatments for relieving breathing difficulties among patients with lung effusions

May 20, 2012

Helen E. Davies, M.D., of the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, and colleagues compared the effectiveness of treatments to relieve breathing difficulties among patients with malignant pleural effusion (presence of fluid in the pleural cavity [space between the outside of the lungs and the inside wall of the chest cavity], as a complication of malignant disease). The treatments compared were chest tube drainage and talc slurry for pleurodesis (a procedure in which the pleural space is obliterated) vs. indwelling pleural catheters (IPCs).

Malignant pleural effusion causes disabling dyspnea () in more than 1 million people worldwide annually; patients have an of 4 months. "There are no robust clinical data to address which of these treatments is more effective at palliating symptoms and improving quality of life," the authors write. "Indwelling pleural catheters are increasingly used as an alternative treatment to talc pleurodesis."

The compared IPC (n = 52) and talc slurry for pleurodesis (n = 54) for patients with malignant pleural effusion who were treated at 7 U.K. hospitals. Patients were screened from April 2007-February 2011 and were followed up for a year. The researchers found that there was no significant difference between groups in dyspnea in the first 42 days after intervention. Indwelling pleural catheters reduced time in the hospital but were associated with an excess of adverse events. "As such, IPCs cannot be advocated as a superior treatment to talc pleurodesis for palliation of symptoms," the authors write.

Explore further: New two-drug approach to treat type of respiratory disease

More information: JAMA, doi:10.1001/JAMA. 2012.5535

Related Stories

New two-drug approach to treat type of respiratory disease

August 11, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- A therapy combining two existing drugs could provide an effective new approach for treating patients with pleural infections, a serious condition where infected fluid builds up in the space between the ...

Recommended for you

Molecular Zika study finds possible target for tests, drugs

April 19, 2016

The molecular structure of the Zika virus as seen on x-ray crystallography revealed electrostatic differences in a key protein compared with other flaviviruses that might explain how it infects human cells, according to a ...

Zika virus may now be tied to another brain disease

April 10, 2016

The Zika virus may be associated with an autoimmune disorder that attacks the brain's myelin similar to multiple sclerosis, according to a small study that is being released today and will be presented at the American Academy ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.