The pleural drain with persistent air leak in six selected patients after pulmonary surgery was clamped or removed without causing pulmonary collapse. In all the patients, air leak through the chest tube was present when speaking or coughing but not seen when breathing normally at rest or taking deep breaths. The fact that the chest tube could be removed in selected patients is explained by supposing the air leakage through an alveolopleural fistula is dependent on pressure difference between the alveoli and the pleural cavity, and this was confirmed in a rethoracotomy case for persistent air leak. Removal of the chest tube following the above-mentioned rationale would reduce the number of rethoracotomy cases for air leak and facilitate early removal of the chest tube in some patients.
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