Palliative Interventional Pulmonology Procedures in the Incarcerated Population with Cancer: A Case Series

S. Shojaee, J. Dawson, R. W. Shepherd, H. J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Results: A total of 16 procedures were performed in 12 incarcerated patients. These included six TPC placements in six patients. Ten procedures were performed in seven patients with airway obstruction. These procedures included rigid and flexible bronchoscopy with mechanical (rigid and balloon dilation) and thermal (laser, argon plasma coagulation, and cautery) tumor debulking and dilation, airway stenting, and tracheostomy in one case. All six TPC patients had immediate symptomatic relief and improved lung aeration on chest radiograph. Three of six patients had successful auto-pleurodesis. In the seven patients with airway obstruction, three patients reported symptomatic relief and one had resolution of post-obstructive pneumonia. No immediate- or long-term procedure-related complications were reported.

Conclusion: Incarcerated patients with advanced malignancy may benefit from interventional pulmonology procedures with low complications. Palliative interventional pulmonology procedures in inmates should not be withheld solely on their incarceration status.

Rationale: Cancer is the second most common cause of death in incarcerated population and lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in this group. Inmates are excluded from most published surveys and research, thus the effectiveness of lung cancer palliation in this population is not known.

Objective: To report the feasibility and safety of palliative interventional pulmonary procedures in inmates with cancer.

Study Design: Retrospective review of registry data from a single center.

Materials and Methods: Inmate data on prospectively enrolled data registry (2009–2012) from the interventional pulmonology procedural registry at Virginia Commonwealth University was extracted and analyzed for safety and efficacy. Inmates with lung cancer and advanced malignancies with pleural or airway metastasis requiring airway debulking (mechanical/thermal), airway stenting, and tunneled pleural catheter (TPC) placement were included in the analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-920
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Cancer
  • Incarcerated
  • Interventional pulmonology
  • Lung cancer
  • Palliative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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