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Concept: Chest tube



Small 14F pigtail catheters (PCs) have been shown to drain air quite well in patients with traumatic pneumothorax (PTX). But their effectiveness in draining blood in patients with traumatic hemothorax (HTX) or hemopneumothorax (HPTX) is unknown. We hypothesized that 14F PCs can drain blood as well as large-bore 32F to 40F chest tubes. We herein report our early case series experience with PCs in the management of traumatic HTX and HPTX.

Concepts: Hospital, Pulmonary contusion, Pneumothorax, Physical trauma, Chest tube, Hemothorax, Chest trauma, Hemopneumothorax


Background Tube thoracostomies in children are required for multiple indications and can be associated with significant discomfort. In 2010, a multidisciplinary team at our institution developed a protocol to replace stiff chest tubes with 8.5-French soft pleural catheters in children requiring pleural drainage.Methods Before initiating the protocol, an audit sheet was developed to prospectively capture data regarding insertion, removal, complications, and success. After 8 months of new protocol utilization, these data were reviewed, along with a retrospective review of the patients' charts.Results Twenty-three patients had 33 pleural catheters inserted over an 8-month period. Mean age was 6.7 years (1 day to 17 years). Indications for insertion were pneumothorax (24%), simple effusion (24%), chylothorax (27%), parapneumonic effusion/empyema (21%), and malignant effusion (3%). Complications included premature dislodgment (33%), blockage (15%), pneumothorax (3%), and bleeding (3%). Mean duration of pleural drainage was 7.27 days (0 to 37 days). Pleural drainage was successful in 91% of patients.Conclusion Soft pleural catheters are an acceptable alternative to traditional stiff chest tubes in the pediatric population. Premature dislodgment was the most common problem. Prospective audits are extremely valuable in assessing new procedural protocols and practice changes.

Concepts: Retrospective, Developed country, Pleural effusion, Protocol, Success, Chest tube, Audit, The Tubes


Since chest tubes have been routinely used to drain the pleural space, particularly after lung surgery, the management of chest tubes is considered to be essential for the thoracic surgeon. The pleural drainage system requires effective drainage, suction, and water-sealing. Another key point of chest tube management is that a water seal is considered to be superior to suction for most air leaks. Nowadays, the most common pleural drainage device attached to the chest tube is the three-bottle system. An electronic chest drainage system has been developed that is effective in standardizing the postoperative management of chest tubes. More liberal use of digital drainage devices in the postoperative management of the pleural space is warranted. The removal of chest tubes is a common procedure occurring almost daily in hospitals throughout the world. Extraction of the tube is usually done at the end of full inspiration or at the end of full expiration. The tube removal technique is not as important as how it is done and the preparation for the procedure. The management of chest tubes must be based on careful observation, the patient’s characteristics, and the operative procedures that had been performed.

Concepts: Hospital, Surgery, Pneumothorax, Plumbing, Thoracic cavity, Chest tube, Drainage, Drainage system


Chest tubes are used to clear blood from around the heart and lungs after heart surgery, but they can be obstructed by a blood clot, leading to retained blood syndrome (RBS). We sought to examine the frequency of RBS and associated morbidity, and to determine the influence of a preventative active chest tube clearance (ATC) protocol on these outcomes.

Concepts: Heart, Thrombosis, Coagulation, Thrombus, Vein, Pulmonary artery, Cardiothoracic surgery, Chest tube


Limited resources in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) drive tremendous innovation in medicine, as well as in other fields. It is not often recognized that several important surgical tools and methods, widely used in high-income countries, have their origins in LMICs. Surgical care around the world stands much to gain from these innovations. In this paper, we provide a short review of some of these succesful innovations and their origins that have had an important impact in healthcare delivery worldwide.Review: Examples of LMIC innovations that have been adapted in high-income countries include the Bogota bag for temporary abdominal wound closure, the orthopaedic external fixator for complex fractures, a hydrocephalus fluid valve for normal pressure hydrocephalus, and intra-ocular lens and manual small incision cataract surgery. LMIC innovations that have had tremendous potential global impact include mosquito net mesh for inguinal hernia repair, and a flutter valve for intercostal drainage of pneumothorax.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Surgery, Inguinal hernia, Hernia, Ophthalmology, Innovation, Chest tube


OBJECTIVES: Chest drainage following cardiac surgery is used to avoid complications related to the accumulation of blood and serous fluid in the chest. We aimed to determine the incidence of chest tube clogging and the role of bedside assessment in identifying the potential for failure to drain. METHODS: Data from 150 patients undergoing cardiac surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass from March to October 2011 were prospectively entered into a database. Chest tubes were visually inspected and functionally assessed at four time intervals (Hours 0, 2-4, 6-8 and at removal), defining need for clearance and presence of partial or complete obstruction. RESULTS: Complete data were available for 100 patients. We assessed 234 chest tubes: pericardial (n = 158); pleural (n = 76). The incidence of chest tube clogging for the entire group was 36% (any tube completely clogged at any time), with increased prevalence of clogging observed in urgent and reoperative cases and in those with increased intraoperative blood use. Among 51 tubes resulted to have a thrombus formation observed inside the chest tube at removal, 44 were clogged primarily in the internal portion of the tube, meaning that clogging could not be confirmed by simple bedside inspection of the indwelling tube. CONCLUSIONS: The chest tubes can become clogged at any time after their placement. The status of urgency, reoperations and use of blood products can be contributing factors increasing the incidence of chest tube clogging. Clinicians likely underestimate the prevalence of this failure to drain, as most clogging occurs in the internal portion of the tube.

Concepts: Scientific method, Heart, Observational study, Pericardium, Chest tube


The optimal initial treatment approach for pneumothorax remains controversial. This systemic review and meta-analysis investigated the effectiveness of small-bore pigtail catheter (PC) drainage in comparison with that of large-bore chest tube (LBCT) drainage as the initial treatment approach for all subtypes of pneumothorax.

Concepts: Comparison, Chest tube


Current management of primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) is variable, with little evidence from randomised controlled trials to guide treatment. Guidelines emphasise intervention in many patients, which involves chest drain insertion, hospital admission and occasionally surgery. However, there is evidence that conservative management may be effective and safe, and it may also reduce the risk of recurrence. Significant questions remain regarding the optimal initial approach to the management of PSP.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Hospital, The Canon of Medicine, Randomized controlled trial,, Pharmaceutical industry, Pneumothorax, Chest tube


To estimate the incidence of active bleeding after cardiac surgery (AB) based on a definition directly related on blood flow from chest drainage; to describe the AB characteristics and its management; to identify factors of postoperative complications.

Concepts: Blood, Heart, Hematology, Chest tube