What is a Chest Tube?
Your healthcare provider has requested that you undergo the placement of a chest tube. Your symptoms or findings indicate that there is fluid (pleural effusion) or air around your lung (pneumothorax). A chest tube is placed so that the fluid or air can be removed.
How Should I Prepare?
You should not eat or drink anything for six hours prior to your procedure. You may take your medications as directed. Speak to your doctor if you need to adjust your insulin dosing. Prior to your procedure, you should make sure all medications and allergies are updated. If you are on a blood thinner you may be requested to stop that medication for a period of time.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure will be performed by a qualified healthcare professional with specific training in Interventional Radiology. The procedure may be performed under fluoroscopy (x-ray) or CT-guidance. Intravenous medications may be given to make you more comfortable and relaxed. This is called conscious sedation.
Your skin will be cleaned with a sterilizing solution and numbing medication applied. The procedure involves placing a small tube through the skin and into the area where the fluid or air is located. This tube will then be connected to a device to aid in the removal of the fluid or air.
What Should I Expect After the Procedure?
Following the procedure, you will be monitored for a period of time and may have a series of x-rays to monitor for any complications. Depending upon the reason for the placement, the chest tube could be in for as little as 24 hours or remain for several days. You will typically remain in the hospital while the chest tube is in place.