Therapeutic Pneumoperitoneum: Relevant or Obsolete in 2015?

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Abstract

Background

Therapeutic pneumoperitoneum (TP) is one alternative to manage pleural space problems. We describe our technique and experience.

Materials and Methods

Medical records of all patients who underwent TP from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2015, were reviewed after Institutional Review Board approval. We report indication, preprocedure pulmonary function tests, volume of insufflated air, time to chest tube removal, and complications. We place a red rubber catheter into the peritoneal space through the diaphragm or a small abdominal incision, insufflate with room air, record volume (liters), intraperitoneal pressure (goal 9-10 mm Hg), and monitor vital signs, airway pressures, and urine output.

Results

We performed TP in 32 patients. Follow-up was available for 31 patients. Indications were prevention of pleural space problems in bilobectomy patients (n = 11), following decortication for empyema (n = 11), prevention of prolonged air leak (n = 3), prevention of postresection space (n = 4), and spontaneous chylothorax (n = 2). TP was done postoperatively in three patients. Median air volume used was 3.5 L (3-6 L). Time to chest tube removal overall was 7.8 days (3-20 days) and to discharge 10.2 days (4-32 days). No patient developed respiratory failure, renal failure, or required evacuation of TP.

Conclusion

TP is a simple, safe, and effective technique to manage pleural space problems. Proper patient selection and meticulous technique are imperative for the successful clinical application of TP. We believe that TP is an underutilized tool for the management of pleural space problems and merits wider application in thoracic surgical practice.

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