Treatment of free-flowing tuberculous pleurisy with intrapleural urokinase

Cao, G-Q., Li, L., Wang, Y-B., Shi, Z-Z., Fan, D-Y. and Chen, H-Y. (2015) Treatment of free-flowing tuberculous pleurisy with intrapleural urokinase. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 19(11), pp. 1395-400. ISSN (print) 1027-3719


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Patients with loculated tuberculous pleurisy (TBP) treated with urokinase suffer less from residual pleural thickening (RPT) than those treated with simple drainage. However, the role of intrapleural urokinase in free-flowing TBP patients remains unclear. METHODS: A total of 318 patients with presumed TBP were screened. The final 171 patients who participated in the study were randomly allocated to the urokinase group (n = 86) and the control group (n = 85). Personalised doses of urokinase were infused via a catheter. This procedure was repeated every 24 h until the volume of pleural fluid obtained was less than 50 ml after three injections. Changes in lung function and pleural thickening were recorded and compared between both groups periodically for 24 weeks. RESULTS: Seven patients (9.1%) had restrictive functional sequelae in the control group, while no patient in the urokinase group suffered from sequelae (P < 0.05). The incidence of RPT (⩾10 mm) was 0 for the urokinase group and 9.1% for the control group (P < 0.05). A lower percentage of patients treated with intrapleural urokinase had blunted costophrenic angle than controls (5.1% vs.19.5%, P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with free-flowing TBP treated with urokinase suffered less from RPT than those treated with drainage.

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