Introduction: Although the VATS pleural drainage and decortication have been proven to be effective treatments in the early stages of empyema. the optimal timing of VATS is still not clear .To assess the effectiveness of early VATS, this study was conducted to examine patients undergoing decortication.
Methods: Patients with empyema were treated with VATS and open decortication in Imam Khomeiny Hospital from October 2014 to October 2017. Fourty four patients were divided into 3 groups based on the interval between the onset of chest symptoms and the time of operation. The first group consisted of patients with symptoms beggeinng from less than 2 weeks ago, the second group were the patients with 2 to 4 weeks of symptoms and the third were those with symptoms for more than 4 weeks. Data were collected using a checklist and analyzed by SPSS software.
Results: Groups 1 and 2 showed shorter chest tube duration, postoperative hospital stay, surgical procedure time than group 3.
Conclusion: Patients with symptom durations of less than 4 weeks showed better results than those with symptom durations greater than 4 weeks. Thus, symptom duration can be considered a reliable preoperative factor in deciding the surgical management of empyema.