A persistent postoperative pulmonary expiratory air leak after an anatomic pulmonary resection is usually managed conservatively, but can be associated with significant morbidity and increased costs. The use of bronchial valves is a minimally invasive method that may be an effective and safe treatment in this setting.
In a prospective study, the clinical efficacy of intrabronchial valve treatment in patients with a prolonged persistent pulmonary air leak after anatomic surgical resection for cancer was investigated.
Ten out 277 patients with anatomical pulmonary resection for cancer were included, and 90% were scheduled for valve treatment. We demonstrated an air leak cessation at a median of 2 days after valve placement, which resulted in a chest tube removal at a median of 4 days after valve placement. Elective removal of the intrabronchial valves could be safely planned 3 weeks after valve implantation. Lung function alteration associated with airway occlusion by valves was limited.
Intrabronchial valve treatment with the aid of a digital thoracic drainage system is an effective and safe therapy for patients with a prolonged pulmonary air leak after anatomic lung resection for cancer.