12 июня 2002 00:00 |
Predictors and treatment of persistent air leaks
Background. Air leaks prolong hospital stay.
Methods. A prospective algorithm was applied to patients. If patients were ready for discharge but still had an air leak, a Heimlich valve was placed and they were discharged. If the leak was still present after 2 weeks, the tube was clamped for a day and removed.
Results. There were 669 patients. Factors that predicted a persistent air leak were FEV1% of less than 79% (p = 0.006), history of steroid use (p = 0.002), male gender (p = 0.05), and having a lobectomy (p = 0.01). Types of air leaks on day 1 that eventually required a Heimlich valve were expiratory leaks (p = 0.02), leaks that were an expiratory 4 or more (p < 0.0001), and the presence of a pneumothorax concomitant with an air leak (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions. Steroid use, male gender, a large leak, a leak with a pneumothorax, and having a lobectomy are all risk factors for a persistent leak. Discharge on a Heimlich valve is safe and effective for patients with a persistent leak unless the leak is an expiratory 5 or more. Once home on a valve, most air leaks will seal in 2 weeks; if not, chest tubes can be safely removed regardless of the size of the leak or the presence of a pneumothorax.
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