Pleural gas analysis for the identification of alveolopleural fistulae

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Purpose of review

The method for identification of alveolopleural fistulae (APF) by visual inspection of air bubbles in the chest drainage system has several limitations and suffers from poor accuracy. Here we discuss the use of a novel technique of pleural gas analysis in the identification and management of APF.

Recent findings

We found that pleural gas analysis has higher sensitivity and specificity than visual inspection in identifying APF. Additionally, we demonstrated that intrapleural gas milieu impacts lung healing and reduction of intrapleural carbon dioxide can promote resolution of APF.


Pleural gas analysis is a novel technique to identify and manage APF. Integration of gas analysis in chest drainage systems would provide a more objective method for managing chest tubes and providing a favorable pleural gas environment for lung healing.

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