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Association between Drainage-Dependent Prolonged Air Leak after Partial Lung Resection and Clinical Outcomes: A Prospective Cohort Study. Ann Am Thorac Soc 2022 Mar;19(3):389-398



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85125444593 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   7 Citations


Rationale: Prolonged air leak (PAL) after partial lung resection can occur owing to surgical complications or in the presence of residual thoracic space. The former type results in drainage-independent PAL (DIPAL), whereas the latter type results in drainage-dependent PAL (DDPAL). DDPAL is described after thoracentesis in patients with nonexpandable lung, where the thoracostomy tube can be discontinued safely despite an ongoing air leak. This distinction is clinically relevant, as in the presence of DDPAL, tube thoracostomy can be safely discontinued without the need for further interventions. Objectives: To determine the frequency and clinical relevance of DDAPL and DIPAL in patients with PAL after partial lung resection. Methods: We prospectively identified consecutive patients with PAL after partial lung resection. Pleural manometry was performed 3-5 days after surgery. Pleural pressure was measured for 20 minutes after clamping the thoracostomy tube. DDPAL was diagnosed if the end-expiratory pleural pressure remained stable after plateauing in the absence of respiratory symptoms. Results: Of 225 patients who underwent lung resection, we identified 22 (10%) who had PAL. Twenty patients had adequate pleural manometry readings. The majority, 16/20 (80%), had DDPAL and had lower median hospital length of stay than those with DIPAL (6.9 vs. 11 days; P = 0.02). All patients with DIPAL required reexploration surgery, whereas only one patient with DDPAL underwent reexploration surgery. Conclusions: Most PALs after partial lung resection are DDPAL. Patients with DDPAL have lower hospital length of stay and less need for reexploration surgery than those with DIPAL.

Author List

Chopra A, Hu K, Judson MA, Fabian T, Nabagiez JP, Feustel PJ, Fantauzzi J, Chieng H, Austin A, Vancavage R, Maldonado F, Rahman N, Huggins JT, Doelken P


Kurt Hu MD Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Postoperative Complications
Prospective Studies