Hepatology International

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 582–586 | Cite as

Outcomes of patients with chest tube insertion for hepatic hydrothorax

Original Article



Case reports and small case series have reported a high rate of complications associated with chest tube placement for hepatic hydrothorax. We describe the in-hospital and 3-month outcomes of patients who have had this procedure.


A retrospective medical record review was performed of all patients admitted to a tertiary care center over a 10-year period with a chest tube placed for hepatic hydrothorax. Demographic data and outcomes were collected and analyzed.


Seventeen patients were identified; 12 were taking diuretics and 8 were taking multiple diuretics at the time of admission. MELD score was 14 (range = 7–34). During hospitalization, 16 had at least 1 and 12 had more than 1 complications. The most common complications were acute kidney injury (n = 11), pneumothorax (n = 7), and empyema (n = 5). Two patients died during the index admission and four others within 3 months of that admission. Six of seven patients who received TIPS survived.


Chest tube insertion for hepatic hydrothorax carries significant morbidity and mortality, with questionable benefit.


Hepatic hydrothorax Chest tube Cirrhosis Ascites Acute kidney injury 



Alanine aminotransferase


Aspartate aminotransferase


International classification of diseases


International normalized ratio


Model for end-stage liver disease


Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt


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Copyright information

© Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Division of GastroenterologyUniversity of Michigan Health SystemAnn ArborUSA

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