Comparison of Exsufflation Versus Drainage in Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax


Management of primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) remains unclear. Primary therapeutic goals for PSP include removal of air from the pleural space an prevention of recurrences. The absence of generally accepted and methodologically sound recommendations may account for the extensive variation in practice for air evacuation techniques. Air evacuation may be achieved by simple aspiration (exsufflation) or conventional chest tube drainage. Chest tube thoracotomy remains the most popular technique.Aspiration is a more simple technique, that allows possibility of ambulatory management. The purpose of the present study is to compare simple aspiration performed with a specific thoracentesis device, versus conventional chest tube drainage. Comparison will be performed on immediate efficacity of resolution of the pneumothorax.The hypothesis is that simple aspiration performed with a specific device is not inferior to chest tube drainage for management of a first episode of large size primary spontaneous pneumothorax. A second goal is to measure the efficacy at one week, and the recidive at one year. The trial is randomized, controlled and will include 200 patients for each group. The patients will be enrolled in 29 hospitals in France. Emergency department, thoracic surgery and pulmonary departments of each hospital were primarily contacted for agreement to participate to the study.

Full Title of Study: “Comparison of Efficacity of Simple Aspiration Versus Standard Drainage in the Management of Large Size Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: March 2014


  • Procedure: exsufflation
    • exsufflation will be performed with a specific thoracentesis system after introducing the device into chest pneumothorax, aspiration will be performed during 30 minutes
  • Procedure: thoracic tube drainage
    • thoracic tube drainage will be performed with a tube Ch 16 or ch 20

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Active Comparator: tube thoracic drainage
    • drainage performed with tube drainage CH 16 or ch 20
  • Experimental: exsufflation
    • exsufflation with a specific thoracentesis system

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • size of residual pneumothorax measured on chest radiography
    • Time Frame: one day

Secondary Measures

  • size of residual pneumothorax at one week
    • Time Frame: one week
  • recidive of pneumothorax at one year
    • Time Frame: one year

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • patients aged more than 18 years and less than 50 years
  • first episode of pneumothorax
  • primary pneumothorax (absence of known pulmonary disease)
  • large size of pneumothorax : presence of a visible rim of air between the lund margin and the chest wall, from the apex to pulmonary base

Exclusion Criteria

  • impossibility to obtain patient consent for psychiatric disease
  • patients under justice control
  • âgé less than 18 years, or more than 50 years
  • impossibility of medical follow de for geographic, social or psychic reasons
  • pregnant women
  • pneumothorax with acute respiratory insufficiency or bad tolerated
  • recidive of pneumothorax
  • traumatic pneumothorax
  • pneumothorax with pleural effusion
  • bilatéral pneumothorax
  • pneumothorax with pulmonary disease

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 50 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Besancon
  • Collaborator
    • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Dijon
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: DESMETTRE, Dr Thibaut Desmettre, MD, PhD – Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Besancon
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Thibaut TJ Desmettre, Principal Investigator, Hospital University of Besancon
    • Thibaut DESMETTRE, MD, Principal Investigator, CHU Besançon


Desmettre T, Meurice JC, Kepka S, Dalphin JC. [Treatment of first spontaneous pneumothorax: drainage or exsufflation?]. Rev Mal Respir. 2011 Jan;28(1):5-8. doi: 10.1016/j.rmr.2010.10.028. Epub 2011 Jan 12. Review. French.

Desmettre T, Meurice JC, Mauny F, Woronoff MC, Tiffet O, Schmidt J, Ferretti G, Dalphin JC. [Comparison of simple aspiration versus standard drainage in the treatment of large primary spontaneous pneumothorax]. Rev Mal Respir. 2011 Mar;28(3):336-43. doi: 10.1016/j.rmr.2010.10.030. Epub 2011 Mar 10. French.

Desmettre T, Meurice JC, Tapponnier R, Pretalli JB, Dalphin JC. [The EXPRED study: where are we?]. Rev Mal Respir. 2013 Jan;30(1):18-21. doi: 10.1016/j.rmr.2012.09.019. Epub 2012 Nov 13. French.

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