Background: Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) complicates many neoplasms and its incidence is expected to rise in parallel with the aging population and longer survival of cancer patients. Although a clear consensus exists on indwelling catheters in patients with poor performance status, no study has hitherto compared different devices in patients requiring temporary or definitive drainage following talc poudrage.
Methods: This is a prospective, two-arm, pilot study on patients with MPE undergoing talc poudrage, comparing two different catheters (PleurX® versus Pleurocath®) positioned because of the inefficacy of the procedure or the high risk of short-term failure. End points of the study were quality of life (QoL), median dyspnea and chest pain assessment by EORTC questionnaires and a 100 mm visual analog scale, total in-hospital length of stay and frequency of serious adverse events.
Results: No difference was observed between the two groups in in mean dyspnea and mean chest pain in any questions of the EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-LC13 questionnaires. Duration of the procedure was significantly longer in the PleurX® group versus the Pleurocath® group (72±33 versus 44±13 minutes; P=0.03). No difference was observed between the two groups in total length of hospital stay (P=1.00) or complication rate (P=1.00).
Conclusions: For the cohort of patients still needing indwelling pleural catheters (PC) after thoracoscopic talc poudrage, PleurX® is suggested when drain removal is unlikely due to short life expectancy or the high chance of pleurodesis failure. Conversely, Pleurocath® should be recommended in all other patients as it is faster to place and easier to remove.
Keywords: Malignant pleural effusion (MPE); talc poudrage; indwelling pleural catheter (indwelling PC).