Semin intervent Radiol 2022; 39(03): 275-284
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1754349
Review Article

Treating Recurrent Pleural Disease: A Review of Indications and Technique for Chemical Pleurodesis for the Interventional Radiologist

Surbhi B. Trivedi
1   Department of Radiology, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, Chicago, Illinois
Matthew Niemeyer
1   Department of Radiology, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, Chicago, Illinois
› Author Affiliations


Pleural space diseases such as recurrent pleural effusion and pneumothorax inflict a significant symptomatic burden on patients. Guidelines and studies are available to guide best practices in the setting of refractory effusions, mostly in the setting of malignancy, and recurrent pneumothorax. Less data is available to guide management of refractory transudative effusions. Recurrent pleural effusions can be treated with tunneled pleural catheters or catheter-based pleurodesis. While refractory transudative effusions can benefit from tunneled pleural catheter, this is an area of ongoing research. Regarding recurrent pneumothorax, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) pleurodesis using mechanical or laser/argon beam coagulation is the most effective means of preventing recurrence. Catheter based pleurodesis, a less invasive means of administering chemical sclerosant via percutaneous thoracostomy tube, is only used when surgery is not an option. However, both approaches induce inflammation of the pleural space, resulting in adherence of the parietal and visceral pleura to prevent fluid or air re-accumulation. This article will discuss catheter based chemical pleurodesis geared toward the interventional radiologist, including a review of disease processes and indications, technique, and strategies to mitigate complications as well as a literature review comparing percutaneous chemical pleurodesis to other therapies.

Publication History

Article published online:
31 August 2022

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