A method of early irrigation of the contaminated postpneumonectomy space

N. M. Katz, R. B. McElvein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A modified balanced drainage system was used with other measures in a patient with an obstructing pulmonary carcinoma, infection, and necrosis. Management included right pneumonectomy, perioperative systemic antibiotics, protection of the remaining lung, and a modified balanced drainage system that allowed early irrigation of the postpneumonectomy space. On the tenth postoperative day, irrigations were discontinued, the right chest was filled with an antibiotic solution, and the thoracostomy tubes were removed. The mediastinum remained in a satisfactory position, and the patient recovered without evidence of empyema. He died of a cerebral metastasis five and a half months postoperatively. This method combines principles that have been used for many years. A balanced drainage-irrigation system permits early irrigation of the contaminated postpneumonectomy space while the mediastinum is still mobile. Prolonged hospitalization and formal closure of the thoracostomy sites can be avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-468
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery

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