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)

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.

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