Following open-heart surgery, a chest X-ray may reveal the presence of air or blood around the lungs, for which a chest tube must be inserted to drain it. The process of inserting a chest tube into the pleural space is called Tube thoracostomy.
Gather all equipment needed e.g catheter (size depends on patients age and size)
- Surgical blade
- Sterile drape, gown and dressing
- Needle and syringes of various sizes
- Local anaesthesia e.g lidocaine or pain medication as required.
The physician locates the site based on the X-ray findings
Cleans in a sterile fashion
Needle and syringe is inserted to aspirate
The skin is then cut open with a surgical blade, dilated and a catheter is inserted
The catheter is then connected to an underwater seal chest system
The tube is anchored with a suture in a pulse string manner
Chest X-ray is done to confirm placement and adjustment made if need be.
The chest tube is removed when the condition that necessitated the placement has resolved i.e. the fluid is reduced and chest X-ray good.