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CHEST: Bilateral Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery for Bilateral Spontaneous Pneumothorax

* From the Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Kuwait.

Correspondence to: Adel K. Ayed, MD, FCCP, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, PO Box 24923, 13110, Safat, Kuwait; e-mail: Adel@hsc.kuniv.edu.kw


To review our experience with bilateral video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) for the treatment of bilateral spontaneous pneumothorax (SP).

Design: Retrospective study followed by a telephone interview for follow-up.

Setting: Thoracic Surgery Department, Chest Diseases Hospital, Kuwait.

Patient and interventions: Fifteen patients undergoing bilateral VATS for bilateral SP from 1994 to 1999.


The mean age of the patients was 22.9 years (range, 17 to 34 years), and 14 were men. All patients were successfully treated using the bilateral video-assisted technique. Operative indications included simultaneous bilateral pneumothorax (n = 7) and contralateral recurrence of SP (n = 8). Twelve patients had primary SP. In the three remaining patients, simultaneous bilateral SP was secondary to sarcoidosis in two patients and histiocytosis X in one patient. Eleven patients had multiple blebs or bullae located in the upper lobes, and 4 patients had no blebs. All blebs or bullae were resected. All patients had gauze pleurodesis. The mean SD operative time was 133.6 9.1 min. There were no perioperative complications and no deaths attributable to the procedure. Postoperative prolonged air leak occurred in three patients (20%). The mean drainage time was 3 days (range, 2 to 8 days). The mean postoperative hospital stay was 5 1.7 days. Mean follow-up was 3.3 years (range, 2 to 5 years) for all patients. Pneumothorax recurred in one patient with histiocytosis X after 1 month and required a reoperation on the right side.


Bilateral VATS is a safe procedure in the treatment of simultaneous and nonsimultaneous bilateral SP. This avoids the need for subsequent operations.

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