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Therapeutic thoracentesis symptoms and activity: a qualitative study
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  • Published on:
    The experiences of patients living with malignant pleural effusions
    • Rachel Jones, Medical Registrar Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    • Other Contributors:
      • Henry Steer, Consultant Respiratory Physician
      • Nancy Preston, Professor
      • Paul Perkins, Consultant in Palliative Medicine

    To the editor
    We commend Twose et al for their qualitative study conducted with sixteen patients who had therapeutic thoracocentesis for malignant pleural effusions (MPE)1. Respiratory symptoms improved while constitutional symptoms did not; and even though symptomatic benefit was only for a matter of days, patients thought that it was worth any discomfort.
    We conducted a similar study with patients with MPE who were identified by the pleural team at a large district general hospital. Patients were interviewed four weeks after a talc pleurodesis or placement of an in-dwelling pleural catheter (IPC). An IPC is a plastic tube which can be placed during a day case procedure and allows intermittent fluid drainage in the community.
    A semi-structured electronically recorded interview was conducted by a researcher following a topic guide and, once transcribed, the transcripts were reviewed using thematic analysis by the researchers.

    Some of our results echo those of Twose et al. We had a male and mesothelioma preponderance with our participants – 8 of 10 were male and 6 had mesothelioma. Thoracocentesis was the initial pleural instrumentation for all (some therapeutic, some diagnostic) but subsequently 9 of 10 had an IPC and 6 of 10 had attempted talc pleurodesis (some had both). Pre-procedure symptoms were respiratory and constitutional, and for some thoracocentesis was uncomfortable. Where our study differs is the additional data with regard to patient...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.