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<h4>Background</h4>Indwelling pleural catheters (IPC) are increasingly used for management of recurrent (especially malignant) effusions. Pleural infection associated with IPC use remains a concern. Intrapleural therapy with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and deoxyribonuclease (DNase) significantly reduces surgical referrals in non-IPC pleural infection, but data on its use in IPC-related pleural infection are scarce.<h4>Objective</h4>To assess the safety and efficacy of intrapleural tPA and DNase in IPC-related pleural infection.<h4>Methods</h4>Patients with IPC-related pleural infection who received intrapleural tPA/DNase in five Australian and UK centers were identified from prospective databases. Outcomes on feasibility of intrapleural tPA/DNase delivery, its efficacy and safety were recorded.<h4>Results</h4>Thirty-nine IPC-related pleural infections (predominantly Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative organisms) were treated in 38 patients; 87% had malignant effusions. In total, 195 doses (median 6 [IQR = 3-6]/patient) of tPA (2.5 mg-10 mg) and DNase (5 mg) were instilled. Most (94%) doses were delivered via IPCs using local protocols for non-IPC pleural infections. The mean volume of pleural fluid drained during the first 72 h of treatment was 3,073 (SD = 1,685) mL. Most (82%) patients were successfully treated and survived to hospital discharge without surgery; 7 required additional chest tubes or therapeutic aspiration. Three patients required thoracoscopic surgery. Pleurodesis developed post-infection in 23/32 of successfully treated patients. No major morbidity/mortality was associated with tPA/DNase. Four patients received blood transfusions; none had systemic or significant pleural bleeding.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Treatment of IPC-related pleural infection with intrapleural tPA/DNase instillations via the IPC appears feasible and safe, usually without additional drainage procedures or surgery. Pleurodesis post-infection is common.

Original publication




Journal article


Respiration; international review of thoracic diseases

Publication Date



1 - 9


Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Washington, Australia.