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Lung diseases

Recuperation - Inserting Talc in Lung

06/21/2010

Question:

My Mom has pleural effusion due to lukemia. She has been in the hospital several times to drain fluid. They are suggesting a Chemical Pleurodesis by inserting talc to cause scar tissue and stop the fluid. What is the recouperation period for this type of procedure and the care needed. She is 83 years old.

Answer:

There are several ways to insert talc into the space around the lung. One involves surgery to drain the fluid and insert the talc and another involves placing a tube (called a chest tube) into the fluid around the lung and then inserting talc through the tube. In either case, the patient has a chest tube after the procedure and is in the hospital for several days. The choice for the best procedure depends on the patient, other medical problems they may have and if they can tolerate a surgery. No special care is required once the chest tube has been removed and the patient is home.

Another option may be a catheter called a PleurX catheter. It is a chest tube that can remain in place for weeks and allows for the patient to go home and drain fluid as needed on a longer term basis and avoids the need for surgery. This may be an option for your mother as well and would consider discussing this with her physicians.

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Response by:

Nitin Y Bhatt, MD Nitin Y Bhatt, MD
Clinical Assisstant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University