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Chest Tubes and Drains
Cristina Fuss, MD
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KEY FACTS

  • Terminology

    • Imaging

      • Clinical Issues

        TERMINOLOGY

        • Definitions

          • Thoracostomy tube (chest tube): Flexible hollow tube placed in pleural space; drains infected collections and those that compromise respiration and cardiovascular function
            • Pneumothorax drainage
            • Pleural fluid drainage (simple fluid, blood, empyema)
              • Empyema and hemothorax: Early chest tube drainage
            • Drug administration: Sclerosing agent for pleurodesis, hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy
          • Mediastinal drain: Drainage of mediastinal &/or pericardial collections
            • Post cardiac surgery: Prevention of tamponade and subsequent pericarditis
          • French (F): Outer diameter (equivalent to 0.333 mm)
          • Bore: Internal diameter (varies with manufacturer and tube length)

        IMAGING

        • General Features

          • Radiographic Findings

            • Fluoroscopic Findings

              • CT Findings

                • Ultrasonographic Findings

                  • Imaging Recommendations

                    DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                      CLINICAL ISSUES

                      • Complications

                        Selected References

                        1. Ravi C et al: Chest Tube 2021
                        2. Ameyaw K et al: Mediastinal drain placement: a ct-guided para-aortic approach. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 31(3):462-3, 2020
                        3. Latif A et al: Successful percutaneous computed tomography guided drainage of mediastinal abscess in esophageal perforation. Intractable Rare Dis Res. 8(3):221-3, 2019
                        4. Menegozzo CAM et al: Can ultrasound be used as an adjunct for tube thoracostomy? A systematic review of potential application to reduce procedure-related complications. Int J Surg. 68:85-90, 2019
                        5. Filosso PL et al: Errors and complications in chest tube placement. Thorac Surg Clin. 27(1):57-67, 2017
                        Related Anatomy
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                        Related Differential Diagnoses
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                        References
                        Tables

                        Tables

                        KEY FACTS

                        • Terminology

                          • Imaging

                            • Clinical Issues

                              TERMINOLOGY

                              • Definitions

                                • Thoracostomy tube (chest tube): Flexible hollow tube placed in pleural space; drains infected collections and those that compromise respiration and cardiovascular function
                                  • Pneumothorax drainage
                                  • Pleural fluid drainage (simple fluid, blood, empyema)
                                    • Empyema and hemothorax: Early chest tube drainage
                                  • Drug administration: Sclerosing agent for pleurodesis, hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy
                                • Mediastinal drain: Drainage of mediastinal &/or pericardial collections
                                  • Post cardiac surgery: Prevention of tamponade and subsequent pericarditis
                                • French (F): Outer diameter (equivalent to 0.333 mm)
                                • Bore: Internal diameter (varies with manufacturer and tube length)

                              IMAGING

                              • General Features

                                • Radiographic Findings

                                  • Fluoroscopic Findings

                                    • CT Findings

                                      • Ultrasonographic Findings

                                        • Imaging Recommendations

                                          DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                                            CLINICAL ISSUES

                                            • Complications

                                              Selected References

                                              1. Ravi C et al: Chest Tube 2021
                                              2. Ameyaw K et al: Mediastinal drain placement: a ct-guided para-aortic approach. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 31(3):462-3, 2020
                                              3. Latif A et al: Successful percutaneous computed tomography guided drainage of mediastinal abscess in esophageal perforation. Intractable Rare Dis Res. 8(3):221-3, 2019
                                              4. Menegozzo CAM et al: Can ultrasound be used as an adjunct for tube thoracostomy? A systematic review of potential application to reduce procedure-related complications. Int J Surg. 68:85-90, 2019
                                              5. Filosso PL et al: Errors and complications in chest tube placement. Thorac Surg Clin. 27(1):57-67, 2017