Use of One-Way Intrabronchial Valves in Air Leak Management after Tube Thoracostomy Drainage

Christopher R. Gilbert, Roberto F. Casal, Hans J. Lee, David Feller-Kopman, Bernice Frimpong, H. Erhan Dincer, Eitan Podgaetz, Sadia Benzaquen, Adnan Majid, Erik Folch, Jed A. Gorden, Praveen Chenna, Alex Chen, Wissam Abouzgheib, Bareng Aletta Sanny Nonyane, Lonny B. Yarmus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background A persistent air leak represents significant clinical management problems, potentially affecting morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. In 2008, a unidirectional, intrabronchial valve received humanitarian device exemption for use in managing prolonged air leak after pulmonary resection. Since its introduction, numerous reports exist but no large series describe current utilization or outcomes. Our aim was to report current use of intrabronchial valves for air leaks and review outcome data associated with its utilization. Methods A multicenter, retrospective review of intrabronchial valve utilization from January 2013 to August 2014 was performed at eight centers. Data regarding demographics, valve utilization, and outcomes were analyzed. Results We identified 112 patients undergoing evaluation for intrabronchial valve placement, with 67% (75 of 112) undergoing valve implantation. Nearly three quarters of patients underwent valve placement for off-label usage (53 of 75). A total of 195 valves were placed in 75 patients (mean 2.6 per patient; range, 1 to 8) with median time to air leak resolution of 16 days (range, 2 to 156). Conclusions We present the largest, multicenter study of patients undergoing evaluation for intrabronchial valve use for air leak management. Our data suggest the majority of intrabronchial valve placements are occurring for off-label indications. Although the use of intrabronchial valves are a minimally invasive intervention for air leak management, the lack of rigorously designed studies demonstrating efficacy remains concerning. Prospective randomized controlled studies remain warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1891-1896
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


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