Pleural effusions are a buildup of fluid between the layers of the pleural membrane that envelops the lungs, and they are among the most common and most uncomfortable symptoms experienced by patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Though there are a number of different treatment methods available to relieve the discomfort that pleural effusions cause, a new study conducted by researchers in Australia has revealed that one protocol provides far greater quality of life for patients, as well as a reduction in complications in the future.
The two most common methods of dealing with pleural effusions for mesothelioma patients are the use of indwelling pleural catheters and surgical pleurodesis. When pleurodesis is accomplished via surgery, it effectively closes the spaces where the fluid accumulates, but involves an invasive procedure that often needs to be repeated in order to relieve the pain, coughing and breathlessness that the fluid accumulation causes. The placement of indwelling pleural catheters requires a single procedure, after which the mesothelioma patients are able to provide relief for themselves by draining the devices. The study conducted by the researchers at the University of Western Australia found that when patients with indwelling pleural catheters drain effusions on a daily basis instead of in response to symptoms, they greatly improve their quality of life and prevent potential complications in the future.
Writing in the most recent issue of The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, lead author Sanjeevan Muruganandan, MBBS, writes, “These data indicate that daily indwelling pleural catheter drainage is more effective in promoting spontaneous pleurodesis and might improve quality of life.” The group studied 87 patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma who had undergone placement of indwelling catheters between 2015 and 2017, and asked half to drain their catheters on a daily basis while the other group only drained fluid when they were actually impacted by symptoms. Though the patients reportedly had no substantive change in their experience of pain or breathlessness or the amount of time that they would later be hospitalized, those who pursued the daily maintenance of their catheters frequently saw spontaneous closing of the spaces where fluid accumulated and generally had a better overall quality of life.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, small changes can make a big difference. For information on other breakthroughs in mesothelioma care and management, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.