Troubleshooting Chest Drains

  • Hadley K. WilsonEmail author
  • Emily G. Teeter
  • Lavinia M. Kolarczyk
  • Benjamin Haithcock
  • Jason Long


Chest tubes are the gold standard for the drainage of the pleural and pericardial spaces. They are an integral part of cardiothoracic surgery, and the well-being of patients depends on their appropriate management. Chest tubes are used to treat a variety of conditions including pneumothorax, pleural effusion, and postoperative evacuation of air and fluid. There are a number of types and sizes of chest tubes available. This chapter will discuss the indications for chest tube placement and removal as well as the best uses for different types of chest tubes. We will address complications associated with chest tube placement and lastly will discuss special situations such as bronchopleural fistula, post-pneumonectomy chest tubes, abrupt changes in chest tube output, and clamping chest tubes.


Chest tubes Chest drains Air leak Chest tube output Hemothorax Pneumothorax Pneumonectomy Bronchopleural fistula Thoracostomy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hadley K. Wilson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily G. Teeter
    • 2
  • Lavinia M. Kolarczyk
    • 2
  • Benjamin Haithcock
    • 3
  • Jason Long
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic SurgeryUNC HospitalsChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Surgery, Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryUniversity of North Carolina HospitalsChapel HillUSA

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