Hong Kong Journal of Emergency Medicine

Volume 10 Number 4, October 2003

A case series of using aspiration catheter for the management of spontaneous pneumothorax

AYC Siu and CH Chung

Introduction: Catheter aspiration is a relatively new treatment for spontaneous pneumothorax in emergency departments in Hong Kong. It causes less pain and shortens hospitalisation. However, there is limited local experience especially in regard to the target group that can be benefited. We reported on the initial experience of catheter aspiration in the management of spontaneous pneumothorax in our emergency department. Method: Patients (age >=16 years) presenting with spontaneous pneumothorax were recruited. Patients with history of asthma or chronic obstructive airway disease were excluded. History of smoking, previous pneumothorax and pleurodesis were recorded. The aspiration catheter was inserted by the Seldinger technique. The extent of pneumothorax was assessed from the chest X-ray and initial aspirated volume. Successful patients were observed in the department and discharged if chest X-rays were reassuring after 12 hours. Factors associated with the outcome of patients were analysed. Result: Seventeen patients were recruited from October 1999 to September 2000. Their age ranged from 16 to 40 years (mean 22.6). The overwhelming majority (16) was male. Twelve cases (70.6%) occurred on the left side. Five patients had previous pneumothorax and one had previous pleurodesis. Fifteen succeeded in immediate re-expansion, but seven re-collapsed during observation. The overall success rate was 47.1%. Initial aspiration volume >2,000 ml was associated with early failure (p=0.01). Conclusion: Our initial experience did not support catheter aspiration to completely replace chest drain in the initial management of spontaneous pneumothorax. The procedure is likely to fail if the initial aspirated volume is greater than 2,000 ml. Further study is needed to identify the subgroup that may be benefited. (Hong Kong j.emerg.med. 2003;10:233-237)

Keywords : Aspiration, catheter, emergency ward, puncture and suction

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