Utility of draining pleural effusions in mechanically ventilated patients.

Link to article at PubMed

Utility of draining pleural effusions in mechanically ventilated patients.

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2012 Apr 11;

Authors: Goligher EC, Ferguson ND

Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Pleural effusions are prevalent in mechanically ventilated patients, and clinicians frequently consider draining the effusions. It is controversial whether patients benefit from pleural drainage in terms of either physiological or clinical outcomes. RECENT FINDINGS: Pleural drainage may be undertaken for a variety of reasons. Effusions are an important potential source of infection in patients with undifferentiated sepsis. Pleural drainage may improve hypoxemia or lung mechanics, but the physiological response depends on a complex interplay between lung and chest wall compliance, applied positive end-expiratory pressure and drainage volume. Pleural effusions may be associated with significant cyclic lung recruitment and collapse during tidal ventilation. Because effusions are primarily accommodated by descent of the diaphragm, they can also impair diaphragm mechanics significantly. There is very limited data in the literature to support the use of pleural drainage to accelerate liberation from mechanical ventilation, and there are no randomized controlled trials published to date. SUMMARY: Pleural drainage may benefit certain patient populations based on individual physiological considerations, but randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact on weaning outcomes are lacking. Future research efforts should focus on identifying patient populations most likely to benefit and clarify the mechanisms by which weaning may be accelerated after pleural drainage.

PMID: 22498733 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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