Diagnosis and treatment of patients with malignant pleural effusion (MPE) is a serious problem for clinicians.
<bold>The aim of the study</bold> were: to evaluate the diagnostic and therapeutic value of thoracoscopy and videothoracoscopy (VTS) and to determine the efficiency of using talc for the management of MPE.
<bold>Material and methods.</bold> Between January 1996 and December 2006, thoracoscopy (VTS) was performed in 95 patients. A 4 g dose of talc was used for pleurodesis. Out of the 95 diagnostic procedures, malignancy was diagnosed in 94 (98.9%) patients. Patients were divided into two subgroups: subgroup A, patients (n=4) who died within first month, and subgroup B, patients (n=91) who lived more than one month. In subgroup A, complete remission (CR) was achieved in four (100%) patients until they died. In subgroup B, CR was achieved in 90 (98.9%) patients after one month, with relapse (R) occurring in 1 (1.1%) patient. After three months, CR was achieved in 86 (94.5%), partial remission (PR) in three (3.3%), and R in two (2.2%) patients. After six and nine months, CR was achieved in 85 (93.4%), PR in three (3.3%), and R in three (3.3%) patients. Postoperative complications, side effects after applying talc, and general performance were assessed. Difficulties in lung expansion requiring redrainage occurred in four (4.2%) patients. Fever appeared in 79 (83.2%) patients, while pain appeared in 90 (94.7%) patients. After treatment, the number of patients classified as I on the WHO scale increased from 36.8% to 74.7%, while the number of patients classified as III on the WHO scale decreased from 10.5% to 2.1%.
<bold>Conclusions.</bold> Thoracoscopy (VTS) significantly improves diagnostic effectiveness in cases without cytological and histological diagnosis and is a method of treatment for MPE. Very good results were achieved after intrapleural administration of talc (CR occurred in 93.4% patients). The most common side effect of administering talc was pain.
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