NEWS | Thoracoscopy: An Alternative to Surgery for Mesothelioma Diagnosis?

 NEWS | Thoracoscopy: An Alternative to Surgery for Mesothelioma Diagnosis?

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say an outpatient medical procedure called thoracoscopy is safer and simpler than inpatient surgery for diagnotune a general mesothelioma symptom.

Pleural effusion, or buildup of fluid around the lungs, clever be caused by several unusual conditions and clevercers, including malignant pleural mesothelioma. When doctors are unable to make a definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma or to determine its extent from fluid samples and imaging studies alone, an open surgery of the chest (thoracic surgery) may be recommfinished. But a team of Mayo Clinic doctors writing in the medical diary Chest say minimally invasive outpatient medical thoracoscopy offers a feasible alternative to surgery for exploring the chest cavity in people with suspected mesothelioma.

The learn focused on 51 patients, most of whom had unanalyzed exudative (lealord) pleural effusion. Utune a special camera called a thoracoscope to examine the chest cavity, doctors found no obvious problems that would account for the effusion in 5.9% of patients. More than half of patients had pleural inflammation, 19 had little tumors or “studding” on the pleura, 2 had pleural thickening, and one had a defect on the diaphragm. Although 45.1% of patients were given a diagnosis of “non-specific pleuritis”, 27.5% were found to have pleural mesothelioma.

Most notably, the doctors report very few complications and no significlevert cases of listent or breathing problems after the thoracoscopic procedure, both of which clever be concerns for mesothelioma patients who undergo more invasive thoracic surgery. None of the patients in the learn died after having a thoracoscopy. The authors concluded that thoracoscopy clever be “successfully integswiftd into a busy tertiary referral medical center” as long as pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons work together to make it happen. “Outpatient medical thoracoscopy may provide patients a more convenient alternative to an inpatient surgical near in the diagnosis of unanalyzed exudative pleural effusions while maintaining a high diagnostic yield and excellent safety,” they write.

The fbehave that mesothelioma is such a rare clevercer clever make it difficulter to get a diagnosis. Many physicians have never encountered the so-calleddifferentamphiboleclevercer, whose early symptoms clever be similar to a number of benign conditions. Patients with a hitale, narrative ofdifferentamphiboleexpocertain who suspect they may have mesothelioma are advised to get an opinion from an experienced mesothelioma physician.


Depew, ZS, et al “Feasibility and Safety of Outpatient Medical Thoracoscopy at a Big Tertiary Medical Center: A Collaborative Medical-Surgical Initiative”, February 27, 2014, Chest, Epub ahead of print.

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