Document Type : Original Article


1 Army College of Medical Sciences and Base Hospital, New Delhi, India

2 Army Hospital Research and Referral, New Delhi, India

3 Venkateshwara Hospital, Dwarka, New Delhi, India

4 Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, India


Background: Tuberculous, parapneumonic and traumatic loculated pleural-effusions pose therapeutic challenges due to resultant pleural-thickening and compromised lung-function for life. Tuberculosis is widely prevalent in developing countries, necessitating appropriate, effective, and economical treatment for loculated pleural-effusion to reduce the burden and sequelae.
Objective: An uncontrolled and blind before-after intervention study to determine the effectiveness of intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy (IPFT) using urokinase in loculated pleural effusions was conducted at a tertiary-care respiratory center after obtaining approval and written informed consent.
Methods: Fifty-one patients with loculated pleural effusion were administered with repeated cycles of three doses of 1 Lakh IU of urokinase intrapleurally until complete drainage of pleural fluid. Pre- and post-IPFT clinical and radiological responses were compared using removal of fluid, ultrasound, and chest radiography were compared. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and paired t test with significance at a P value less than 0.05 were applied to test statistically significant differences in proportions and means, respectively.
Results: Tuberculosis was the most common etiology leading to loculated pleural effusion (80%), and 82.4% of tuberculosis patients required at least two cycles of IPFT. Complete resolution in chest radiograph after IPFT was observed in 80.4% of patients. Chest pain (13.7%) and fever (9.8%) were the most common undesired effects associated with IPFT. A statistically significant reduction in mean intrapleural fluid levels pre- and post-IPFT from 184±81 ml to 67±52 ml was observed.
Conclusion: IPFT with urokinase is an effective treatment modality in patients with post-tubercular loculated pleural effusions. IPFT has minimal and tolerable undesired effects and prevents sequelae such as pleural thickening and consequent compromise of respiratory function.


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