Awake Videothoracoscopic Treatment of Pleural Effusion
Pp. 119-129 (11)
Francesco Sellitri, Federico Tacconi, Benedetto Cristino and Eugenio Pompeo
Pleural Effusion (PE) is a common clinical condition, which can greatly affect patients’
quality of life. Etiology of PEs can be variable, although in over 70% of cases they prove to be
malignant in nature. Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) is now routinely employed for
management of recurrent PE and allows a thorough exploration of the pleural cavity, accomplishment
of gross multiple biopsies and, whenever required, pleurodesis to prevent recurrences. VATS is usually
performed under general anesthesia although this type of anesthesia can be associated with several
adverse effects, particularly in the presence of comorbidities such as advanced malignancy, cardiopathy
and severe systemic diseases. For this reason, use of local anesthesia in spontaneously ventilating
patients has been advocated and we also started a clinical program of VATS carried out through local or
Thoracic Epidural Anesthesia (TEA) in fully awake, spontaneously ventilating patients. Awake VATS
management of PE requires a single trocar access; it is easily performed and results in optimal patients
tolerability, minimal hospitalization and satisfactory outcome.
VATS, pleural effusion, talc pleurodesis, thoracic epidural anesthesia, local anesthesia.
Department of Thoracic Surgery, Policlinico Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy.