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July 1997

Invited Commentary

Author Affiliations

University of California Davis Medical Center Sacramento

Arch Surg. 1997;132(7):752. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430310066013

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The patients who received vacuum drainage were selected by the surgeons. Those patients who had smooth operations after a minimum of adhesions had been found in the chest were given the vacuum drains and others were treated with conventional drainage systems. Six of the 21 patients who had vacuum drainage required conversion of their chest drainage to traditional chest suction methods. The selection process a priori biased the outcome in favor of the vacuum drainage systems and, quite often, the vacuum drainage systems were inadequate.

This article demonstrates that there is more than one way to accomplish drainage of the pleura and that the vacuum drainage method may be useful in a select group of patients. It would be naive to think that added mobility that resulted from the new vacuum system was the major contributing factor to speedy recovery, and it would be inappropriate to conclude or to imply

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