The practicality of physicians performing thoracoscopy for diagnostic purposes was assessed in 30 patients with pleural effusions of unknown cause. A rigid thoracoscope was compared with a fibreoptic bronchoscope used as a flexible thoracoscope and the diagnostic adequacy of biopsy specimens obtained with the two instruments assessed. The two instruments were inserted by a physician in the bronchoscopy suite using local anaesthesia. The procedure proved safe, acceptable, and diagnostically effective. The rigid thoracoscope proved a more satisfactory instrument but the fibreoptic bronchoscope, with minor adaptations, may be used for thoracoscopy.
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