Persistent posttraumatic pneumothorax (PPP) is an uncommon complication of traumatic injuries of the chest, usually managed with suction drainage and involving prolonged hospital stays. This study was conducted to assess the advantages of using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) in the management of patients with PPP.Eleven patients with PPP underwent VATS for diagnosis and for definitive treatment.Before VATS was done, all patients had undergone multiple attempts to resolve the PPP; the hospital stay before VATS was 10 days (range, 4-14 days). In 10 patients, the cause of the PPP was identified and a segmental stapled resection was performed, with complete success in resolving the air leak and obtaining pleural synthesis. In another patient, the source of the air leak was not identified and a thoracoscopically assisted chemical pleurodesis was performed, with immediate cessation of the air leak. All chest tubes were removed within 48 hours of the procedure; 9 patients were discharged within 72 hours of VATS. Preoperative computed tomography of the chest was useful in 2 patients, but bronchoscopy did not disclose any major airway injury.Videothoracoscopy is an accurate, safe, and reliable alternative to an open thoracotomy in the management of patients with PPP. In the patients in whom the procedure was completed, excellent results were obtained and the hospital stay was reduced. We believe that VATS should be used earlier and more frequently after failure of conservative management in such patients.
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View details for PubMedID 9632149