Turkish Thoracic Journal
Original Article

Effectiveness of Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery in Undiagnosed Exudative Pleural Effusions


Department of Thoracic Surgery, Adıyaman University School of Medicine, Adıyaman, Turkey


Department of Thoracic Surgery, İstanbul University İstanbul School of Medicine, İstanbul, Turkey


Department of Thoracic Surgery, University of Health Sciences İstanbul Dr.Siyami Ersek Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Training and Research Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey

Turk Thorac J 2019; 20: 188-191
DOI: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2018.18133
Read: 868 Downloads: 137 Published: 18 July 2019



OBJECTIVES: Undiagnosed pleural effusions mostly require histologic studies for a definite diagnosis. In addition, malignant pleural effusions  responsible for a significant part of exudative pleurisy need palliative therapy  The purpose of our study is to research the effectiveness of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery in definitive diagnosis and palliative treatment of unexplained non-parapneumonic exudative  pleural effusions.


MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study included 263 patients with non-parapneumonic exudative pleurisy, which could not be diagnosed by an initial clinical, radiological, biochemical, microbiological, and cytological investigation in three centers. All patients underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for definitive diagnosis between January 2002 and January 2018. Patients’ data were retrospectively analyzed in terms of age, gender, symptoms, previously diagnosed cancers, computerized tomography of chest findings, histopathological diagnosis, cytological diagnosis, morbidity, mortality, and success rates of the procedure. Patient groups from the three centers were divided into three groups according to the center of the patient. The groups were compared statistically in terms of cytologic diagnosis rates.


RESULTS: The most common complaint was dysnea (66.5%). Of the 263 cases, 83 were previously diagnosed with cancer. The simple pleural effusion (66.5%) was the most frequent radiological finding. The success rate for definitive diagnosis was detected as 97%. Of all the cases, the rate of specific cytological diagnosis was detected to be 34%. The cytologic diagnosis rate was meaningfully lower in Group 1than in Groups2 and 3. The postoperative morbidity rate was detected as 9%.


CONCLUSION: Video-assisted thoracic surgery is not only a rapid and effective diagnostic method, but also a palliative therapeutic method. We think that it should be used immediately after initial diagnostic thoracentesis in undiagnosed exudative PEin the less experienced centers.


Cite this article as: Dadaş E, Erdoğdu E, Toker A, et al. Effectiveness of Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery in Undiagnosed Exudative Pleural Effusions. Turk Thorac J 2019; 20(3): 188-91.

EISSN 2149-2530