Low-dose intrapleural alteplase (without deoxyribonuclease) in complicated parapneumonic effusion: case series and literature reviews

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This case series reviews two cases of elderly patients who presented with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Clinical examinations and initial chest radiographs confirmed unilateral pleural effusion. Thoracenteses were consistent with exudative pleural effusion. We commenced intravenous antibiotics treating for parapneumonic effusions. The first case showed persistent effusion despite drainage, and the second case had a little aspirate from pleural tapping. Subsequent ultrasound of the thorax showed multiloculated effusions. We made the decisions for intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy using low-dose alteplase 2.5 mg each time, in view of the elderly patient as sacrosanct for risk of bleeding. Furthermore, DNase was not used, as it is not yet available in our setting. Both of our patients had good clinical and radiological outcomes, without the need for surgical interventions.

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