May 21, 2012
Study Looks At Treatments For Alleviating Breathing Troubles Among Patients With Lung Effusions
Helen E. Davies, M.D., of the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, and colleagues compared the effectiveness of treatments to relieve breathing difficulties among patients with malignant pleural effusion (presence of fluid in the pleural cavity [space between the outside of the lungs and the inside wall of the chest cavity], as a complication of malignant disease). The treatments compared were chest tube drainage and talc slurry for pleurodesis (a procedure in which the pleural space is obliterated) vs. indwelling pleural catheters (IPCs).
Malignant pleural effusion causes disabling dyspnea (breathing difficulties) in more than 1 million people worldwide annually; patients have an average life expectancy of 4 months. "There are no robust clinical data to address which of these treatments is more effective at palliating symptoms and improving quality of life," the authors write. "Indwelling pleural catheters are increasingly used as an alternative treatment to talc pleurodesis."
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