Purpose: Although life-threatening situations can be avoided using an open window thoracostomy (OWT), the closure is often difficult. We investigated the predictors of a successful closure of an OWT at the time of OWT creation. Methods: Thirty-five consecutive patients who underwent an OWT at our institute between January 1991 and December 2010 were reviewed. We directly compared the patients with and without a successful OWT closure. A logistic regression analysis was employed to determine the predictive factors of a successful closure. Results: OWT closure was only achieved in 12 patients. The closure of the OWT and absence of diabetes mellitus significantly influenced the survival of the OWT patients. The OWT in patients with preceding lung resection was difficult to close, especially if the underlying disease was lung cancer. The existence of a bronchopleural fistula (BPF) was not related to successful closure. Among the post-lung resection patients, the nutritional status tended to affect the success of the closure. Conclusion: Successful closure is difficult to predict at the time of the creation of an OWT. A comprehensive approach, including nutritional support and the precise timing of intervention is critical to promote a successful closure.
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